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Solar Powered Wave Glider Survives Hurricane Isaac


by Energy Matters

Solar Assisted Wave Glider
A Wave Glider located in the Gulf of Mexico is alive and well after staring down Hurricane Isaac.

Manufactured by California company Liquid Robotics, the Wave Glider is an unmanned marine vehicle (UMV) made up of a buoyant platform and a submerged glider with wing-shaped panels that convert the motion of waves into forward thrust.† The Wave Gliderís navigation, control, and communications systems are powered by two solar panels; which also power sensor payloads.
G2, a Wave Glider collecting ocean chemistry data in the Gulf, was in the process of scooting out of Isaac's projected path when the hurricane changed direction and bore down on the robot.
G2 continued operating in sustained winds of 40 knots (74 kmh), with gusts up to 74 knots (137 km/h) and in the process delivered new insights into the hurricane via its sensors measuring water temperature, wind speeds, barometric pressure and air temperature.
"We are proud to see our Wave Glider not only survive the Category I hurricane, but also continue to communicate valuable real-time weather data as it battled 74 knot winds," said Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics.
"Hopefully, autonomous platforms like the Wave Glider will make it possible to better predict the severity and risk to everyone in the Gulf Coast area in the future."
Another Wave Glider, Alex, is lurking off the coast of Puerto Rico to support a new joint project with the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) to measure hurricane intensity.†
Last year, four Wave Gliders started a journey across the Pacific Ocean and two of the robots are headed for Australia. The journey has set a Guinness Book
World record for distance by an unmanned wave powered vehicle and is expected to be completed late this year or early in 2013.


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