Ten Years of Wave Glider Operations: A Persistent Effort

Ten Years of Wave Glider Operations: A Persistent Effort

Leigh Martin — December 14, 2017

Through ten years of operations and hundreds of customer deployments, we’ve learned a lot. This year at OCEANS ‘17, our Science and Research lead Ryan Carlon presented the paper, Ten Years of Wave Glider Operations: A Persistent Effort.

In the paper, he and co-author Justin Manley explore the lessons learned over ten years of building and evolving the Wave Glider. Three primary themes emerged: technology, marine operations, and human factors. Here are some of the key lessons learned.



  • Commit to product management: A Silicon Valley-style product management approach, driven by customer insights and a commitment to build and test capabilities, can advance technology development more rapidly.
  • Engineer for the ocean: The harsh physical environment of the ocean presents significant engineering challenges, so prepare for continual design and manufacturing assessment and development.

Marine Operations

  • Adapt to the environment, it won’t adapt to you: Understand the extremes the ocean will throw at you, and prepare to engineer to meet these challenges.
  • Develop best practices for launch and recovery: An ocean robot can’t do its job until it’s in the water, so make launch and recovery as simple and infrequent as possible.
  • Experiment and adapt: Learn from your customers. When a customer finds the edge of the envelope, work with them to learn what happened and expand that envelope.

Human Factors

  • Make operations scale efficiently: Unmanned systems still require some human involvement, so develop best practices to help global operations scale efficiently.
  • Anticipate regulation: Policy can often lag technology, but a healthy dialogue with regulators is essential in the long-term.


You can read the full paper presented at OCEANS ‘17 here.

And for more on the lessons learned in the early days of Liquid Robotics, check out our founder Roger Hine’s reflections on our first ten years of operations.