HRD Seminar – Dr. Pat Fitzpatrick, MSU/NGI and Ryan Carlon, Liquid Robotics, Inc. – 12 May 2016

Dr. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Carlon presented a combined  seminar on “An overview of recent Wave Glider® field programs”.


Wave Gliders® (WGs) use wave energy for propulsion through the synergistic alternating thrust of wave action on the floating vehicle and mechanical wings 6 m below the vehicle. They provide dynamic environmental monitoring in the maritime environment with long-duration deployments of continuous real-time measurements using solar panels to power sensors, and satellite and cell communication channels for data delivery. The WG platforms evolved from a privately funded research initiative to monitor Humpback Whale songs.  This led to Liquid Robotics, Inc. (LRI) being officially incorporated in 2007, and the WG platform evolving towards a more generalized environmental monitoring capability. There are two types of WG designs – the SV2 and the larger SV3, which includes a thruster in addition to the mechanical wings. All transits are monitored 24 h by an operations center including vessel detection by AIS for rerouting. LRI provides an operational website interface (the Wave Glider Management System) to assist users in the monitoring. Some data is transmitted real-time (for example, surface meteorology, wave, and water temperature), while other data is archived on-board and transmitted in bulk at more infrequent intervals, or can be extracted after mission completion (such as ocean current profiles or high bandwidth acoustic data).

WG mission deliverables are diverse but commonly include travel over the open ocean for weeks to months at a time. Example field programs include: wave, ocean, and PBL measurements in tropical cyclones; monitoring algal blooms, environmental satellite ground truthing; active and passive acoustics; marine mammal monitoring; carbon cycle studies; geodesy marine magnetics; hydrocarbon seep mapping; coordinated vehicle operations; and marine surveillance. Instrumentation to support these missions are different combinations of the following: anemometer; towfish; fluorometer; ADCP; acoustic modems; acoustic recorders; directional ocean wave sensor; CTD-DO; magnetometer; and camera.

 The seminar will give an overview of the WGs, recent field programs, and validation results from buoy loitering exercises of the surface meteorology, SST, and wave instruments.

A recording of the presentation is available on the anonymous ftp site: