Wave powered robots cross Pacific Ocean

Autonomous vehicles gather ocean data during epic voyage

Author: Pat
15th March 2012
 

Four autonomous robots powered by waves have crossed the Pacific from California to Hawaii.

The so-called Wave Gliders are built by US company Liquid Robotics and used to gather deep ocean data.

In their most ambitious assignment to date, the four vehicles were entered into the PacX Challenge.

Working their way through gale force storms, they’ve already traveled 3,200 miles to Hawaii, for which they take a place in the Guinness Book of Records. The previous distance traveled autonomously across the ocean was 2,500 miles.

battling gale force storms

Ultimately, the Wave Gliders will travel on to Australia and Japan.

These amazing machines use nothing but the sea’s wave motion to propel themselves through the water. But also built-in are solar panels, sensors and a transmitter. Together they enable the machine to traverse the oceans taking measurements for scientific study back in the lab.

A path is pre-programmed into the robot before departure, but the vehicles are capable of taking star sightings to ensure they stay on course.

With two-thirds of the voyage left to go, a first wave (ha) will leave Hawaii shortly headed out across the Mariana Trench, with a second working a more southerly route towards the Australian continent.

All four robots are due to complete their epic voyages either in late 2012 or early 2013.

 
 
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