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Swimming Robot Reaches Australia After Record-Breaking Trip 72

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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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not another illegal arrival from overseas, we get enough of those already!
    Swimming is a new way to do it though, most use boats... :-)

  • 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 PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @09:49PM (#42199363) Journal

      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'.

      Thank you, but what makes you think "aussies" are pronouncing it correctly?

      I mean, it would be a first.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by Sussurros ( 2457406 )
        Because we are. You can use the name and pronouce it any way you like when you use it.
      • There are regional pronunciations of localities such as Jervis Bay, Launceston, Cairns, Lalor, Reservoir.

        Castlemaine, VIC and Newcastle, NSW both have 'Castle' in their name but are likely to be pronounced differently either side of the Murray.

        Then there's derby/darby, which is what the 'Hervey' debate is about. Many Aussies would pronounce it , "incorrectly", as Her-V

        Which is what happens when you name places after obscure 18thC British noblemen with non-phonetic names.

        • I'd pronounce it "hair-vay" or "Her-vay" (rhyming with survey), or even "Her-vee" (rhyming with curvy), but I'd never get "Harvey" out of it.
          • Nonetheless, 'Harvey' Bay it is.

            It's really quite common for place names not to be said the way they 'look', even when the same word/name/phoneme in other contexts, in the same language and dialect, is commonly pronounced a different way.

            And that is the case all over the world. Lots of examples in the UK obviously, but also in the US. Mobile, AL springs to mind. Or the state of Arkansas.

        • At least it's not as bad as the UK, where you can have a town with a name that's written in eight syllables but pronounced in two.

      • Yep, Oi am happy to admit it's us who cahn't spoik propahly. Howevah, being irresistable to American women just by speaking is fair compensation for the shame of Oi must enduah from such comments.. :-)
        • Lucky bastard ... I don't suppose if I went to Australia women would suddenly find a Canadian irresistable (eh)?

          • I don't suppose if I went to Australia women would suddenly find a Canadian irresistable (eh)?

            Are you kidding? Of course they'd find you irresistible. The common Australian accent is no easier on the ears of Australian women than it is on ours.

          • A Canadian or Californian accent is a big plus in the romance stakes here in Australia. Regional accents from North America can be more help or less depnding on the accent. At a guess I'd say a Louisiana accent was the best and even a broad Brooklyn accent was some advantage. Naturally a lot depends on the packaging but any American accent wil help to get you laid in Australia.
      • by treeves ( 963993 )

        Who are aow-sees?

    • by Dipsomaniac ( 1102131 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @09:50PM (#42199375)
      Got it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Chrisbie77 ( 664669 )
      To be fully native, it's like "Hahvie Bye" - our vowels are "all jacked up" - as my American sheila tells me. Also they make rum in Bundaberg, lots of it - "Liquid Robotics" hmmm.. expect the robot back with a patch over one of it's sensors and a bottle of rum... and a parrot.
      • I wonder whether it landed closer to the Pialba (Pie-Al-Bah) end or the Urangan (You-Rang-Gan) end. 'Hervey Bay near Fraser Island, Queensland' would have been more descriptive then 'near Bundaberg'.
      • Bundy is not rum. It is an abomination in the sight and taste of both god & man.

        • Their commercial with the Drop Bear (cough) more than makes up for that I reckon... []
        • Bundaberg Rum is actually quite yummy once you get past its strong, er, personality. Drunk in excess however, and excess is significantly less than for other spirits, it will find the worst aspects of your personality and make you a slave to them for a while. The last time I drank it I punched my friend's father when I was Best man at his son's wedding. I strongly advise experimenting with it in a non-social setting if you feel you must experiment with it at all. There are plenty of deserted beaches that ar
        • Bundy is not rum. It is an abomination in the sight and taste of both god & man.

          Ah! So it's better than rum.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        Can't think of Bundy Rum without thinking about Rich Hall's take on the stuff: []

        "'holy shit this is liquid crack, what the fuck are you lookin' at? Come over here and I will beat you like a drum"

    • by rHBa ( 976986 )

      battled and surfed the east Australian current to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay, near Bundaberg

      ? Many are the times that my final destination has been near Bundaberg, if I remember correctly?!?

    • Sure, but is it anywhere near near Tullamore, Seymour, Lismore, Maroochydore,
      Kilmore, Nambour, Moolimbah, Birdsville, Emmaville, Wallaville, Cundamunda,
      Cundabine, Strathpine, Prosapine, Ulladulla, Darwin, Gin Gin, Deniliquin, Muckadilla,
      Emmaville, Kullavilla, Moree, Taree, Jarildabee, Banbawa, Toowoomba, Gunnedah,
      Gurringbah, Woolloomooloo, Dalvin, Tambourin, Engadine, Jindabyne, Lithgow,
      Casino, Brigalow, Narabine, Megalong, Wyalong, Oolong, Orgathella, Morella,
      Indapella, Whyalla, Dandenong, Woodabong, Balla

  • taught the robot to dog paddle....
  • How do it do this?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      frickin' lazers

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was wondering the same thing, sounds like market/journalist/dumbass-speak. Sensationalism sells to morons.

  • Hey robot f*ck off we're full!


  • by formfeed ( 703859 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @10:45PM (#42199833) a good spot for a robot prison colony.
  • Did anyone check that white powder in the ballast?
  • Of course, there was some other distracting lyrics about another woman named Elvira [], too.

    (if you didn't have to see the video to get that joke, you're getting gray like me!)

    • Wow, you are getting gray. :)

      I figure if the operator was a youngin' he probably wouldn't get the humor in labeling the speed dial "Giddy-up".
  • They didn't even mention the message that they found on a recorder in the robot. It said "I have been on a deserted island....the putt breaks to the right....Sweep back and forth, back and forth...I was stranded...This is the way we wash our clothes..." Apparently, it was supposed to say "I have been on a deserted island...with seven castaways of The Minnow. ..They are alive and well and...." but the dopey first mate put a rabbits foot into the robot for luck and it demagnetized the tape!
  • 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 [] 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.

    • Funny enough it's called a "Swimming robot" but all I see is "toy boat with autopilot." A submarine and a steam ship are both swimming robots, too...
      • This system doesn't have a propeller(screw) for propulsion, it is actually more of a swimming motion as its fins(tethered a few meters down) angle up or down as the wave action moves it up and down in the water. This is how it uses basically no power to move about.
  • "but one of them has suffered damage and has been diverted to Hawaii for repair" thus it can be remotely controlled?
  • Some sources are reporting that the whole way there the robot kept saying "P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney!!"

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun