Robot at sea tweeting Hawaii hurricane photos

The Liquid Robotics Wave Glider Holoholo is autonomously navigating the Hawaiian seas, heading into the paths of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio, tweeting storm photos as it goes.

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A photo tweeted by a Liquid Robotics Wave Glider that's heading autonomously into the path of two hurricanes menacing the Hawaiian islands. Liquid Robotics

As Hawaiian residents and visitors hunker down to avoid the force of what could be two oncoming hurricanes, a robot is swimming straight into the path of the storms, tweeting photos as it goes.

A Liquid Robotics Wave Glider known as Holoholo is autonomously heading directly at Hurricanes Iselle and Julio, both of which are thought to be threatening the Big Island of Hawaii.

Built by Silicon Valley's Liquid Robotics, Holoholo is a Wave Glider SV3, essentially a self-powered sea-faring data center designed as a system to give users -- generally researchers or marine industry companies -- the ability to investigate open seas for months at a time. SV3s have a hybrid propulsion system that can drive the robot with either solar or wave power. They also have a vectored thruster that allows it to keep going in both high seas and dead calms.

Right now, most Hawaiians are likely wishing for dead calms, but they're getting high seas. But that's a boon for Liquid Robotics, which markets the $300,000 SV3 to companies in the oil and gas industries, as well as fisheries, coast guards, and the military. The 270-pound robot, which has underwater wings, carries a package of sensors, and its power management system is meant to support on-board servers continuously capturing and analyzing data about conditions at sea, and transmitting it via satellite communications.

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The Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV3 is an autonomous sea-faring data center, capable of gathering, processing, and transmitting data from oceans throughout the world. Liquid Robotics

The SV3 has a data-center like architecture that lets multiple users each have their own simultaneous data gathering and crunching, independent of the others. The on-board computers do most of the processing locally, and transmits conclusions via high-bandwidth, low-power connectivity rather than sending large amounts of raw data that has to be analyzed when it is received. Liquid Robotics CEO Bill Vass told CNET last year that the SV3's architecture makes it something like the Amazon Web Services -- the e-commerce giant's cloud-server system -- of the sea.

 

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