Robotics

First of four autonomous Wave Glider robots successfully crosses Pacific ocean

First of four autonomous Wave ...
The Papa Mau Wave Glider, being pulled from Australia's Hervey Bay
The Papa Mau Wave Glider, being pulled from Australia's Hervey Bay
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The Papa Mau Wave Glider, arriving in Australia
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The Papa Mau Wave Glider, arriving in Australia
The Papa Mau being hoisted aboard a support vessel
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The Papa Mau being hoisted aboard a support vessel
The Papa Mau's floating and winged platforms, which were much farther apart when the robot was at sea
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The Papa Mau's floating and winged platforms, which were much farther apart when the robot was at sea
The Papa Mau being carried ashore
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The Papa Mau being carried ashore
Some hitch-hikers on the Papa Mau's stern
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Some hitch-hikers on the Papa Mau's stern
The Papa Mau Wave Glider, being pulled from Australia's Hervey Bay
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The Papa Mau Wave Glider, being pulled from Australia's Hervey Bay
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Last November, a fleet of four small autonomous Wave Glider aquatic robots set out from San Francisco to sail across the Pacific ocean. They reached Hawaii this March, at which point they parted ways – as according to plan, one pair struck out for Japan, while the other two headed for Australia. Today, it was announced that the first of the two Australia-bound Wave Gliders has reached its destination, setting a new world record for the longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle.

Made by California- and Hawaii-based tech firm Liquid Robotics, each Wave Glider consists of a floating surf board-like “boat” tethered to an underwater winged platform. The motion of the waves causes these wings to paddle the boat forward, while solar cells on the deck of the boat provide power to its sensors and transmitters.

These sensors measure oceanographic data such as salinity, water temperature, wave characteristics, weather conditions, water fluorescence, and dissolved oxygen. GPS and a heading sensor also help the craft to orient themselves.

The Papa Mau's floating and winged platforms, which were much farther apart when the robot was at sea
The Papa Mau's floating and winged platforms, which were much farther apart when the robot was at sea

Papa Mau, which is the name of the Wave Glider that has reached Australia, was pulled from the ocean in Hervey Bay near Bundaberg, Queensland. It was the end of a one-year journey that spanned approximately 9,000 nautical miles (16,668 kilometers), and that saw the robot withstanding challenges such as gale force winds and inquisitive sharks. Along the way, it also gathered and transmitted an assortment of oceanographic data, including measurements of a chlorophyll bloom along the Equatorial Pacific.

Papa Mau’s traveling companion, the Benjamin, should be arriving in Australia early next year. One of the pair headed for Japan has apparently turned back to Hawaii for repairs, after which it should be resuming its trip.

The four robots’ combined journey, known as PacX (Pacific Crossing) is intended mainly to showcase the Wave Gliders’ research, reconnaissance, and other capabilities. More information on the project, and on Papa Mau’s accomplishment, can be seen in the video below.

Source: Liquid Robotics via PopSci

PacX: The journey so far

View gallery - 9 images
2 comments
Joseph Mertens
Knowledge is not understanding but without it understanding is impossible.
kalqlate
@Joseph Mertens - "knowledge" is "information that is already understood". That's why we GAIN knowledge. I think you meant to say...
"Information is neither understanding or knowledge, but without it, understanding and knowledge are impossible".
We gain knowledge by gathering and understanding information.