Autonomous watercraft completes its trip across the Pacific

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A company called Liquid Robotics has set a world record for the longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle, achieved when the company retrieved the first of its Wave Glider marine robots in Hervey Bay near Bundaberg, Queensland in Australia recently.

The trip taken by PacX (Pacific Crossing) Wave Glider “Papa Mau” saw the wave-powered craft travel 9,000 nautical miles (16,668 kilometers), a voyage that has taken the craft more than a year to complete. En route Papa Mau “navigated along a prescribed route under autonomous control collecting and transmitting unprecedented amounts of high-resolution ocean data never before available over these vast distances or timeframes.” The data collected will be made available via the company’s PacX Challenge, which hopes to promote new ocean research across a range of subjects.

Liquid Robotics CEO Bill Vass said “We set off on the PacX journey to demonstrate that Wave Glider technology could not only survive the high seas and a journey of this length, but more importantly, collect and transmit ocean data in real-time from the most remote portions of the Pacific Ocean. We’ve demonstrated delivery of ocean data services through the most challenging ocean conditions. Mission accomplished.”

Another of the Wave Glider robots is expected to fetch up in Australia in early 2013 and one of the two headed for Japan will be undergoing repairs before resuming its journey. Following those arrivals, lengthier research missions are planned for the robots.

Source: PopSci

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