Last Thursday, four self propelled robots called Wave Gliders left San Francisco for a 60,000 kilometer journey. These robots, each of which is about the size of a dolphin, are built by Liquid Robotics, and will travel together to Hawaii, then split into pairs. One pair will head to Japan while the other ventures to Australia, IEEE Spectrum magazine reports.
Solar-powered sensors aboard the wave gliders will measure water temperature, clarity and salinity, and oxygen content; gather information on wave features and currents; and collect weather data. The point of the expedition, so to speak, is to “push the boundaries of science, and prove to the world that this type of technology is ready to increase our understanding of the ocean,” Graham Hine, senior vice president of operations, told IEEE Spectrum.
The collected data is streaming via the Iridium satellite network and will be made freely available in accessible form on Google Earth’s Ocean Showcase. For researchers who register, the data will be available in a more complete form.
Photos courtesy of Liquid Robotics