Liquid Robotics
Sunnyvale, CA
408-636-4200
www.liquidr.com

Accurately forecasting weather conditions and currents prior to mission deployment is an invaluable intelligence tool for the warfighter. Being able to accurately predict a Category-5 typhoon or hurricane, instead of a tropical storm, also saves lives, saves property, and saves time in evacuations. The Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider®, a surfboard-sized ocean drone filled with sensors, computers, and communications equipment, can survive a Category-5 typhoon while continuously collecting and transmitting meteorological and oceanographic data. Previously this type of data was unobtainable because it was too risky to send manned ships out in the middle of a hurricane/typhoon; buoys can become severely damaged or come off their moorings in such conditions; and satellites have difficulty seeing through the dense cloud cover.

To accurately predict the intensities of storms or to accurately assess environmental conditions, the Wave Glider acquires real-time data directly from the surface of the ocean where the weather conditions are occurring. The unmanned ocean drones compute in-situ and provide realtime communications to the user.

A Wave Glider ocean drone battled Super Typhoon Rammasun, which roared into Southern China in July 2014. The drone survived one of Asia’s most powerful typhoons in 40 years, yet continuously collected data throughout the storm. With projected sustained winds of over 145 mph, gusts to 175 mph, and estimated waves of 45 feet, the Wave Glider navigated directly into the eye of Super Typhoon Rammasun. On a meteorological mission, the drone traveled through the 400 square miles storm as it collected and transmitted vital, real-time wave, temperature, conductivity, and current data, from the surface of the ocean, as well as current data down to 100 meters with full directional wave spectrum data.

As the United States military increasingly relies on information dominance as a key attribute of modern warfare, ocean and environmental data have become increasingly important to the modern warfighter. The Wave Glider’s long duration (up to a year at sea), durability through weather conditions, and real-time communications can provide a new and unique competitive tool to assist commanders in achieving battlefield information dominance.

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Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2014 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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