The Ocean has been called the final frontier. Great expense has gone into mapping out the depths of our tiny planet. Robots offer the opportunity to truly explore inner Earth, even at the cost of the great Cousteau empire.
Earlier today, Liquid Robotics, the developer of the Wave Glider marine robot, announced that its PacX Challenge has broken the Guinness Book world record for distance traveled by an unmanned wave powered vehicle. Who knew that this was such a competitive sport? The Gliders traveled over 3,200 nautical miles breaking the previous world record of 2500 miles. This feat started last November from from San Francisco Bay reaching Hawaii, and battling over 26 foot waves and gale force winds along the way.
Now on the Big Island of Hawai’i the PacX Wave Gliders will embark on the final legs of their journey to Australia and Japan. The robot fleet will travel across the Mariana Trench while fighting the famous Kuroshio Current in Japan. According the Liquid Robots’ Chief of Innovative Applications Engineer, “I have no doubt new ocean discoveries, insights, and applications will emerge from the PacX data set. PacX represents a new model for providing widespread and easy access to environmental monitoring of the world’s oceans, one in which Liquid Robotics operates fleets of mobile, autonomous ocean robots across previously inaccessible areas of the ocean.”
This means todays oceanographers are tomorrow’s bot-explorers propelled by an endless supply of wave energy (no manpower, no emissions, and no refueling – that’s algae green energy). Liquid Robots promises that its design will cost-effectively collect and transmit data to base stations across the globe without taking any breaks. Wave Gliders biggest obstacle to date has been staying out of the way of fisheries and migrating species.
To learn more about the PacX Challenge, the Wave Gliders and the PacX Challenge grand prize, go to www.liquidr.com/pacx.