Liquid Robotics, a company formed by CEO Bill Vass, is making huge inroads in sensor deployments in some of the most difficult to monitor parts of our planet. That is, the vast, open ocean. Liquid Robotics has developed a maritime robot that can travel thousands of miles, carry different payloads, energize itself from ocean wave movement, and transmit large amounts of data in real time to its users. This surfboard looking robot it called Wave Glider, and is bound to change the way data is collected from the oceans. Liquid Robotics is also a leader in big data management, as outlined in an earlier post by Bob Gourley.
Wave Glider has a multitude of operational applications ranging from Government/Defense uses to Scientific/Environmental uses to Commercial/Industrial uses. It can benefit intelligence gathering and military monitoring, sea life tracking and tsunami warning, or pollution testing and resource discovery. Wave Glider has recently completed several hallmark trips through the ocean, including a circumnavigation of the island of Hawaii, a voyage from Hawaii to California (2500 miles), and a loitering mission of more than 1 year.
The next step for Liquid Robotics and their wave glider is in partnership with Google Earth and Virgin Oceanic, the PacX. On November 17 Liquid Robotics launched 4 Wave Gliders that will travel across the Pacific Ocean. This will be a Guinness Record for longest distance traveled by an Unmanned Maritime Vehicle (UMV). The four Wave Gliders are expected to collect approximately 2.25 million discrete data points, and take more than 300 days to complete their voyage. During their voyage, they will transmit valuable ocean data on salinity, water temperature, waves, weather, fluorescence, and dissolved oxygen. Throughout their journey, the Wave Gliders will build an enormous data set, provided free of charge and in real-time, to the world’s scientists, educators, students, and the general public. Liquid Robotics is making this data available to anyone who registers.
Another amazing aspect of the PacX is Virgin Oceanic’s submarine, which will accompany the voyage an subsequently do a dive to the depths of the Mariana Trench. The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of our ocean, and has never been explored by humans. Virgin has designed and built a submarine made of 8000 lbs of titanium and composite material that is up to the challenge. Virgin CEO Richard Brosnan will be co pilot of the vessel as it undertakes this 5 hour dive to new depths for humanity. As someone who loves to SCUBA dive and admires the oceans for its size, power, and mystery, I am excited to see what Liquid Robotics has in store for the future and I will surely be checking in occasionally on the status of PacX.
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