An autonomous underwater drone that can detect and analyze invisible microplastics in ocean, river and coastal waters was created by the American nonprofit research and development organization Draper, in collaboration with Sprout Studios and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The aim of this drone is to assist scientists in understanding the source of the origin of these micro-plastics and thus to enable them to try to prevent the “contamination” of the Earth’s waters from them.
Automatic underwater drones scan nine meters below the water surface -where the largest volume of micro-plastics is found- detect micro-plastics, monitor the various types and send GPS coordinates.
Draper hopes to publish a Pollution Index of Plastic Micro-particles, similar to the Global Air Quality Index, which -in real time- gives information on air pollution.
The organization wants to use these drones to make measurements to make predictions of micro-particle concentration in the planet’s waters possible.
It also plans to make its own micro-plastic detection technology accessible to interested parties so that others can contribute to the effort to save our seas and marine biodiversity.