A remotely operated ocean research tool has been launched in the Gulf of Maine. It will troll the coast for up to eight weeks, collecting data on ocean conditions and fish locations.
The 7-foot-tall robot known as a Wave Glider will travel no faster than 2 miles per hour, using the waves to move, according to The Associated Press. It will be controlled from the shore and has an onboard solar panel to power its battery. It was launched yesterday near Monhegan Island as part of a partnership among the University of Maine's School of Marine Sciences; California company Liquid Robotics, which manufactured the Wave Glider; and Northeastern Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System. The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System is coordinating the research, and Houston-based Sonardyne Inc. provided sensors that the drone will place on the ocean floor to collect water data.
If the tests prove fruitful, UMaine could use grant money to purchase a Wave Glider for other scientific applications.
Liquid Robotics has made more than 100 Wave Gliders, but this one is the first to be used off the East Coast, according to The AP.