The SV3 is the first hybrid wave- and solar-propelled ocean robot, designed to cost-effectively collect and transmit data from areas of the high seas previously too expensive or challenging to reach. It can be used to study things like global climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries management, hurricane prediction, tsunami warning and exploration for valuable natural resources, the company said.
With a real-time onboard processor, flexible power and storage systems, and an adaptable operating system, Liquid Robotics' self-powered floating data center can investigate the sea for years at a time - and for 90 percent less than other data collection alternatives, the California-based company boasted.
"The SV3 is a tremendous step forward in terms of what we can accomplish in the ocean and gives customers a competitive advantage to capture data in the most challenging ocean conditions," CEO Bill Vass said in a statement.
The SV3 is the newest addition to the Wave Glider family, which includes the smaller SV2, a maritime robot that has logged a world-record-setting 300,000 nautical miles since it set sail in 2009. More than 200 of the former-generation robots have sailed from the Arctic to Australia and the Canary Islands to Loch Ness, running only on wave energy — no manpower, no emissions, no refueling.
For its next trick, Liquid Robotics added solar panels and battery storage capacity to its SV3. And with a price tag of $300,000, it can take photos and collect data on temperature, winds, humidity, wind gusts, water temperature, water color, and water composition,Venture Beat reported.
Roger Hine, inventor of the Wave Glider, touted the machine's "unparalleled" ability to collect and process data.
"Riding the advancements in consumer electronics, smartphone, tablet computing and a new generation of extremely capable processors, we are now able to provide processing onboard — actually as powerful as a supercomputer from not long ago," Hine said. "With that computational power and the ability to tirelessly swim across vast oceans, the Wave Glider SV3 represents a big step forward in the state-of-the-art of unmanned monitoring and exploration."
The new Wave Gliders use ARM-based processors running Linux, Venture Beat said, and can download software changes or applications from sea; it can also transmit data via satellites, Wi-Fi, or a cellular network.
"By providing the ability to deploy Wave Gliders across most of the planet and deliver ocean data in a new and cost-effective way, we're enabling broad access to affordable ocean exploration," Vass said.
According to Wired, the U.S. Navy has expressed interest in the Wave Glider, ahead of its annual three-day Sea Air Space conference outside of Washington, D.C.