Ten years ago today, Liquid Robotics embarked on a world record-breaking journey to cross the Pacific Ocean with a fleet of Wave Gliders. The wave powered unmanned surface vehicles traveled from San Francisco Bay to the Hawaiian Islands and then continued on their route to Australia. While the Pacific Crossing (PacX) to Hawaiʻi already secured a world record for distance by an unmanned wave powered vehicle, the unprecedented voyage of 9,000 nautical miles to Australia set a Guinness Book World record for the longest distance ever traveled by an unmanned autonomous surface vehicle.
“We are immensely proud of what the Wave Glider was able to achieve 10 years ago and how our technology has evolved over the last decade. What started as a scientific pursuit has become an extremely versatile ocean surface vehicle that allows us to collect and communicate a variety of ocean data. Whether that’s for real-time environmental monitoring or maritime surveillance, the applications and integration opportunities are endless”, said Liquid Robotics CEO Shane Goodenough.
Over the course of the year-long PacX expedition, the Wave Gliders successfully navigated through gale force storms and cyclones, high seas, and turbulent currents while collecting over 5.5 million discrete data points. This invaluable data set of physical and biological water characteristics, wave and weather conditions, and surface currents was made available, free of charge. Scientists were invited to enter the PacX Challenge competition, which recognized the most innovative application of the collected ocean data.
“The purpose of this voyage was to foster new scientific explorations and discoveries by collecting vast amounts of ocean data. PacX was truly inspirational from a scientific perspective and allowed us to recognize the possibilities of ocean monitoring that could be achieved with the Wave Glider technology,” said Liquid Robotics co-founder and former CEO Graham Hine.
Liquid Robotics, a Boeing Company, designs and manufactures Wave Gliders. PacX was the first scientific expedition in history to go such distance across the ocean without requiring any fuel. The Wave Glider’s revolutionary design is exclusively powered by nature, converting wave energy into forward propulsion and capturing solar energy to power onboard sensors and communications. The Wave Glider technology allows for long-duration operations, up to 12 months, and has proven endurance in the roughest ocean conditions.