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Autonomous sea robot completes record 9,000 mile journey

Posting in Technology

A little more than a year after setting off on its journey from San Francisco to Australia, through the Pacific Ocean, an autonomous sea robot has completed its trip in world record fashion.

The Wave Glider, a wave-powered autonomous marine robot developed by U.S.-based Liquid Robotics, reached Australian waters after a 9,000 nautical mile trip, giving the robot the world record for the longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle, the company says.

But in addition to proving that the robot could "survive the high seas" and the long trip, the device has completed another important function: collecting valuable data from the ocean. "We’ve demonstrated delivery of ocean data services through the most challenging ocean conditions. Mission accomplished," said Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics, in a statement.

As the robot collected data throughout the journey, the company provided open access of the data in hopes that researchers and students would find innovatives uses for the data. Known as the PacX Challenge, so far researchers have proposed ideas such as studying the ocean's health and its biomass. The winning idea will receive a $50 million research grant from BP.

Photo via Liquid Robotics

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— By on December 5, 2012, 4:43 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure