A group of four autonomous, wave-powered robots has completed a trip from San Francisco to Hawaii and are now continuing on in two pairs, one set to Australia, and the other set to Japan. They are seeking to carry out the PacX Challenge in which they are trying to set the record for the longest ocean voyage by an unmanned ocean vessel and to demonstrte the abilities of these robots.
The Wave Gliders are built with a two-part construction, with a floating part, which also contains solar panels to operate on-board data collecting equipment and communications equipment, and a glider part, which is connected to the float with a cable and which is used to provide propulsion for the vehicle. The float measures 208 x 60 cm (about 82 x 24 inches) and the glider is 40 x 191 cm (about 16 x 75 in). The two are connected with a 7 meter (about 23 feet) cable. The robot weighs 90 kg (about 200 pounds).
The robots can be used for station-keeping data collection, as well as for autonomous travel, as the current project demonstrates. The Wave Glider has a speed of 0.4 to 2.0 knots (about 0.45 to 2.3 mph or 0.75 to 3.7 kph), but they are able to operate autonomously for up to 1 year. By being able to be autonomously operated, it is possible to do data collection at a remote ocean location without needing to use fuel and human effort to take a buoy to the location to deploy it and to keep it resupplied.
written by Sapoty Brook, March 26, 2012
|< Prev||Next >|