Nov 27
2014

Look! There in the ocean... It's a surfboard. It's a stand-up board. No, it's... the Wave Glider?

Posted on in Energy News

bon-voyage-wave-gliderThe ocean is a big place, and that is a major constraint when it comes to measuring and monitoring its conditions and activities. In 2007, Puako-based Jupiter Research introduced the Wave Glider Unmanned Maritime Vehicle (UMV), now developed by spinoff company Liquid Robotics. This remotely controlled, unmanned surfrider requires no fuel, motor, or propeller. Instead, it operates entirely by wave and solar energy, and its sea trials take place right here in Hawaiian waters.

The Wave Glider converts wave motion into forward thrust that essentially provides everlasting propulsion. Meanwhile, solar panels charge the batteries that control the vehicle’s electronic sensors and payload systems. It has been reported that these robust and resilient robots have successfully circumnavigated the Big Island, made the journey from Kona to San Diego (in 79 days), and weathered 50-knot winds and 21-foot seas.

But what does this all-you-can-float buoy do, you ask. Well, among other things: 

To supplement its research and defense contracts, Liquid Robotics is also wooing commercial buyers in the fishing, wind power, and petroleum industries. Hmm. 

To date, the clean-energy-propelled Gliders that have been deployed have logged more than 100,000 miles between them. I imagine they’ve discovered some perfect, empty waves out there in the middle of the Pacific. That information, of course, they’re not sharing.

[Hey, that makes me think... Go Pro should make an "expedition model" surfboard with solar panels that would keep the camera's battery charged. How cool would that be?]