May 19, 2018 9:01 PM   Subscribe

“Each drone carries at least $100,000 of electronics, batteries, and related gear. Devices near the tip of the sail measure wind speed and direction, sunlight, air temperature and pressure, and humidity. Across the top of the drone’s body, other electronics track wave height and period, carbon dioxide levels, and the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field. Underwater, sensors monitor currents, dissolved oxygen levels, and water temperature, acidity, and salinity. Sonars and other acoustic instruments try to identify animal life.“
Engineer and adventurer Richard Jenkins has made oceangoing robots that could revolutionize fishing, drilling, and environmental science. His aim: a thousand of them.
posted by Grandysaur (6 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Obligatory: 'I heartily welcome our new autonomous wind powered overlords'. But honestly, how cool are these! A few thousands of them would revolutionise deep sea data gathering, probably aid remote shipwrecked humans, improve tsunami and earthquake reporting.

All we need now is the raspberry-pi powered version and I'm happy.
posted by fordiebianco at 4:31 AM on May 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

The story behind how Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider was developed is really interesting. Liquid Robotics spun-off from Jupiter Research Foundation where my dad worked for several years.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:12 AM on May 20, 2018

Just what you want to hear about an "environmental" innovation, to quote the article: "Backed by $90 million in venture capital..."

It seems like an even more efficient way to annihilate any sea creature with any commercial value.
posted by FungusCassetteBicker at 8:36 AM on May 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

or mine for rare earths in the ocean

or set up floating aquaculture pens for tunas

governance in our most populated sea, the gulf of mexico, does not inspire confidence

witness the 14 year old oil leak that the company doesn't want to plug.

who gets to see this data? i would feel more excited if this were a university or hell, even a Navy effort
posted by eustatic at 11:21 AM on May 20, 2018

who gets to see this data? i would feel more excited if this were a university or hell, even a Navy effort

There are tons of different AUV programs and designs out there, many private and many for university or military research.

If you're interested in publicly-available data and aren't worried about the AUV part you can look through the mountains of data collected by Argo floats.
posted by edeezy at 2:39 PM on May 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hm, underwater sensors, hundreds of them, deployed across the ocean? Now THAT's the kind of plan that'll get you a visit from some serious dudes in suits from the Navy.
posted by ctmf at 4:24 PM on May 20, 2018

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