Autonomous Surface Vehicles

Wave Glider®

In 2005, in an effort to move beyond the limitations of a near-shore moored CetaBuoy and to sidestep the intricacies and costs of deep water moorings, the Foundation explored the feasibility of an "unanchored" buoy. The team at Jupiter Research Foundation co-invented a wave-powered autonomous vehicle, called the Wave Glider®, which is capable of traveling to any specified location in the ocean, and "holding station" once it arrives. In 2007, after successful completion of a functioning prototype, the Wave Glider project was spun off into an independent commercial business called Liquid Robotics, Inc., which completed the product development cycle and successfully performed various durability tests including a trans-pacific crossing, as well as a Mexico to Alaska voyage. This wave powered "green" vehicle is quite unlike any other vehicle that has ever been developed. It can travel to any specified location at sea, remain for a year or more without maintenance, and support a host of electronic payloads suitable for a wide variety of increasingly urgent oceanic studies.

The Wave Glider has since become the Foundation's platform for a variety of marine based projects. During the winter, the humpback whale breeding season, Wave Gliders are deployed off the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawai'i from locations inshore and up to 12 miles offshore to transmit whale songs as well as other marine acoustics, in real-time, around the clock to our website. For our Live Whale Song transmission, we have Wave Gliders equipped with hydrophones systems and can transmit the digitized, compressed mp3 files to shore over cellular phone networks as well as archive the RAW audio onboard. With this technology, wave gliders are able to be deployed and provide an inexpensive data link where ever there is a cell network. We also have the ability to transmit using the Inmarsat synchronous satellite network, allowing us to operate outside of cellular range.

By using the flexibility of the Wave Gliders, the Foundation is developing techniques to send pictures and video from camera arrays both above and below the surface. Another project is a microscope payload that performs in-situ water sampling and transmits pictures of micro-organisms to shore in near real-time.

For more about this project, please contact us at Autonomous-Surface-Vehicles@jupiterfoundation.org