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Science

Swimming Robot Reaches Australia After Record-Breaking Trip 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the sink-or-swim dept.
SternisheFan writes "A self-controlled swimming robot has completed a journey from San Francisco to Australia. The record-breaking 9,000 nautical mile (16,668km) trip took the PacX Wave Glider just over a year to achieve. Liquid Robotics, the U.S. company behind the project, collected data about the Pacific Ocean's temperature, salinity and ecosystem from the drone. The company said its success demonstrated that such technology could 'survive the high seas.' The robot is called Papa Mau in honor of the late Micronesian navigator Pius 'Mau' Piailug, who had a reputation for finding ways to navigate the seas without using traditional equipment. 'During Papa Mau's journey, [it] weathered gale-force storms, fended off sharks, spent more than 365 days at sea, skirted around the Great Barrier Reef, and finally battled and surfed the east Australian current to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay, near Bundaberg, Queensland,' the company said in a statement. Some of the data it gathered about the abundance of phytoplankton -plant-like organisms that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and provide food for other sea life -could already be monitored by satellite. However, the company suggested that its equipment offered more detail, providing a useful tool for climate model scientists."
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Swimming Robot Reaches Australia After Record-Breaking Trip

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  • pronounciation (Score:3, Informative)

    by whitehatnetizen (997645) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @09:32PM (#42199235)
    just FYI so that you non-aussies start hearing it wrong in your heads: Hervey bay is pronounced "Harvie" like "Barbie" but with a 'v'.
  • by paramour (110003) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:11AM (#42200803)

    James Gosling, of Java, Display Postscript, Gosling Emacs, and other fames is the chief software architect an Liquid Robotics.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @01:33AM (#42200889) Homepage

    This is another Liquid Robotics [liquidr.com] Wave Glider. It's a simple, clever propulsion idea, which is well-explained on the web site. The only powered mechanical part is a rudder. A GPS provides position, solar panels provide power for the electronics, and an Iridium satellite link provides command and control. It's about the size of a surfboard.

    Performance is surprisingly good. Wave gliders have been sent from Hawaii to California, then up to Alaska and back. It can generally stay within 50 meters of the desired track. It's too small and light to hurt anything operating in open ocean. The Coast Guard classifies it as "floating debris", so it doesn't have to show lights.

    It's also useful when you simply want to park an instrument package in one location. It's much easier than anchoring a buoy in deep water. They had one in Monterey Bay for months, making small circles to stay in one area.

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