Unmanned drones aren’t just being used in the air. Liquid Robotics has announced the latest version of its floating sensor robots (Wave Glider SV3), which includes a hybrid propulsion system. The upgraded model uses solar power for propulsion; previously, the robots used solar cells to power onboard sensors and communications systems, while wave energy alone provided propulsion.
Wave Gliders can collect weather data, monitor marine life and hurricanes, and even snap photos. Last year, one of the company’s robots registered some 9,000 miles floating across the Pacific Ocean. Since they don’t require fuel, they can operate longer (and greener) than other types of probes or manned research vessels. The new version will be able to maintain position in strong currents thanks to the additional solar power. It should also be able to travel faster. They weigh less than previous models, and can accommodate more power-intensive equipment like sonar.
More than 200 Wave Gliders have been deployed everywhere from the Arctic to Loch Ness, traveling more than 300,000 nautical miles and surviving 10 hurricanes. The company’s customers include NASA, Stanford University (as part of a shark tracking program), BP, Cornell University, and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Desktop Engineering has produced a white paper titled “Design and Simulate in Parallel,” which includes an interview with Liquid Robotics’ Vice President of Mechanical Engineering Tim Ong. He explains how the company uses HP Z800 workstations with two CPUs and NVIDIA Maximus graphics technology to drastically reduce their product development cycle. Download the free white paper here.