A local company is on the cutting edge of ocean exploration using unmanned vehicles powered by wind and sun and the future looks bright for these ocean drones, which currently are being tested off the coast of San Diego.

Eric Patten is the CEO of Ocean Aero located off Scripps Poway Parkway in San Diego. The company designs ocean drones for government, scientific and commercial use.

“We don’t have to refuel it.  It allows us to go out for days, weeks, or months,” said Patten.

The ocean drone can also transform into a submarine and use an electric motor to propel it underwater.

“The wing folds up, rotates around and folds down into the wing glove,” said Patten.  “We have solar panels that charge two lithium batteries.”

“You can remotely pilot it but it’s autonomous.  So, you put in a mission for it.  It does that mission and it can make some of the decisions itself,” Patten explained.

For scientific applications, the drone can continuously measure weather and ocean conditions.

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