ITSASDRONE gearing up for wave energy monitoring mission at BiMEP (Video)

The ITSASDRONE, an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) developed by Spanish research institute AZTI, has completed the first sea trials ahead of deployment at BiMEP to monitor Wello’s Penguin wave energy device.

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ITSASDRONE is an autonomous sea surface drone capable of carrying out different tasks while operating autonomously by means of an automated remote control with radio or satellite communication.

Suitable for long term missions of three months or more, the drone operates 100% on renewable energy in the marine environment and with a zero-emission propulsion system.

Built by Branka Composites and AZTI, the applications of the drone may range from oceanographic, meteorological, or biological research to control by marine authorities, including target monitoring.

According to AZTI, ZUNIBAL’s echo sounder has been integrated in ITSASDRONE with an Airmar transducer with a frequency range of 85-135 kHz that can collect and store accurate acoustic backscattering data that can be post-processed and replayed.


ITSASDRONE will be used at the Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP) around Wello’s Penguin wave energy device, to monitor the potential reef effect of the presence of structures in the surface of the water, AZTI said.

Having undergone real sea tests in summer of 2021, additional trials with ITSASDRONE will be done at BiMEP test site to identify the best configuration in terms of a compromise between the autonomy of the device and the navigation speed so that it is enough to counteract the effect of currents and wind, according to developers.

To remind, Wello’s 600kW Penguin wave energy device was installed BiMEP in July 2021 at a test site located 1.5 kilometres off the Spanish northern coast.

The device was planned to remain on site for the following two years, but it was retrieved late in December 2021 for inspection, maintenance and repairs following ‘a minor leakage’ detected inside the device.

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