Liquid Robotics Engineering the ‘Digital Ocean’
By DANIELLE LUCEY, Editor-In-Chief
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — With the proliferation of the internet of things on land, the floodgates are opening for the “digital ocean” — a concept at maritime robotics company Liquid Robotics that will soon feed data ashore on the maritime environment.
Data streaming off the company’s Wave Glider unmanned surface vehicle (USV) is gaining traction being integrated with other unmanned platforms, including unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned aircraft — particularly during Unmanned Warrior, a fall 2016 U.K. Royal Navy exercise that focused on unmanned integration. This year, the company is participating in Autonomous Warrior, a follow-on exercise hosted by the Australian Navy slated for November. Instead of focusing on the platforms, Autonomous Warrior will be communications-centric.
“We are that gateway layer at the service of the ocean,” says CEO Gary Gysin.
And supplying data points, whether for defense or environmental monitoring purposes, is growing in need around the world’s oceans. Liquid Robotics recently began working with the Japanese Coast Guard, supplying four of its 11 districts with Wave Gliders in, what a company spokesperson said is, “the largest unmanned ocean-going operation in Japan.”
That information is being used to further inform weather models with in situ information, filling the data gap left by relying on satellites.
The company is displaying an updated model of its Wave Glider at its booth at Sea-Air-Space. The platform has a larger, 2,000-pound thrust towed sub that it uses to propel itself forward — and sometimes through — waves up to Sea State 8. The company expanded its area of operations at the request of its largest customer, the U.S. Navy. The new platform has enabled the Navy to operate the USV in waters that are tougher, similar to the North Sea or the “Roaring 40s.”