Thursday, 11 April 2013

Data centre at sea gathers information on climate change

imageLiquid Robotics has announced the introduction of the world’s first hybrid wave and solar propelled unmanned ocean robot. The device will explore the world’s oceans in conditions that previously were too challenging or costly to operate and send back data to help solve problems such as global climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries management, hurricane prediction, tsunami warning and exploration for valuable natural resources.

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Wave Glider SV3 uses both wave and solar energy for forward propulsion and powering its on-board data collection systems, enabling it to go further – tens of thousands of miles - and through all sea weather conditions - doldrums, high currents, hurricanes/cyclones. Data consolidation and processing at the point of collection also means real time delivery of information back to base.

The Wave Glider SV3 leverages the experiences of the SV2 version, which was introduced in 2009 and has travelled more than 300,000 nautical miles globally. It also set a world record for the longest distance travelled by an autonomous vehicle and has been deployed from the Arctic to Australia and from the Canary Islands to Loch Ness. What’s new about the latest version is its on-board processing capabilities, adaptable power and storage, and the introduction of a new operating system designed for intelligent autonomy.

Roger Hine, CTO and inventor of the Wave Glider, said “Riding the advancements in consumer electronics, smart phone, tablet computing and a new generation of extremely capable processors, we are now able to provide processing on-board - actually as powerful as a supercomputer from not long ago. With that computational power and the ability to tirelessly swim across vast oceans, the Wave Glider SV3 represents a big step forward in the state-of-the-art of unmanned monitoring and exploration.”

 

Review:  One of the challenges of Green ICT is to provide the means to monitor the inevitable impacts of global warming. As weather patterns change it will become increasingly important to understand what’s happening and provide early warning of the extreme weather events that will characterise climate change.

Much of the effort is going into monitoring from above, i.e. using satellite and atmospheric monitoring, but equally important is what’s happening in the sea. For example, the UK’s climate is vulnerable to changes in ocean currents in the North Sea, driven by melting polar ice. Devices like the Wave Glider may well tell us more about what the long-term changes are, as well as monitoring for more immediate impacts.

© The Green IT Review

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