A few days ago, we reported how the Wave Glider—a self-propelled, solar and wave-powered robot designed by Liquid Robotics—had been deployed to track great white sharks in the Pacific Ocean. Now word has reached us that when Hurricane Isaac struck off the Gulf of Mexico, the Wave Glider was actually being tested by US scientists. As such, they took the opportunity to use the multi-purpose robot to gather storm data at sea level.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team sent the Wave Glider into Hurricane Issac, equipped with a literal floating platform of sensors, into ocean waters about 161km north of Puerto Rico last week.
Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Alan Leonardi, deputy director of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami said: “Isaac did not barrel right over it, but Isaac being the size storm it is, the Wave Glider was able to collect data from the outer rain bands. We can’t steer a hurricane, but we did get good data out of it.”
Another Wave Glider, dubbed G2, was also deployed to monitor the storm in the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane passed 96km east of G2, which allowed it to collect valuable ocean data, including evidence of a dramatic drop in water temperature, “suggesting that Isaac was vacuuming the heat from the Gulf.”
Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics, said of his product’s success: “We are proud that it was able to survive the mission, battling 136km/h sustained winds, and gusts up to 192km/h.”
“Hopefully the Wave Glider will make it possible to better predict the severity and risk to everyone in the Gulf Coast area in the future.”
Last year, the Wave Glider was awarded $22 million in Series D financing in order to serve as a platform for ocean observation, data collection, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Images © Liquid Robotics