URI oceanographer tests robotic research boat

A University of Rhode Island oceanographer has started testing a robotic boat he helped design for research missions on coastal currents.

Dan Codiga, a marine research scientist in URI's oceanography school, is doing field trials on the 36-foot custom-built catamaran before sending it out later this year to collect data on currents and circulation patterns.

URI says the boat will be the first of its kind to operate independently in open waters for up to a month at a time.

Codiga says it's too expensive for oceanographers to keep research vessels out on the water for weeks straight and that his boat will make the research affordable.

The boat was tested in North Kingstown's Allen Harbor last week. Testing is expected to continue in July and August.