Liquid Robotics launches autonomous sea-faring data center

The new Wave Glider SV3 is essentially a fully autonomous floating server rack, a system its maker fashions as the Amazon Web Services of the open ocean.

Wave Gliders
Liquid Robotics

After setting a world record for the longest distance traveled on Earth's surface by a robot, Liquid Robotics today unveiled the latest version of its Wave Glider technology.

The updated platform is capable of autonomously prowling the world's seas while analyzing, processing, and transmitting data gathered from a wide variety of on-board sensors.

The new Wave Glider SV3 is essentially a self-powered sea-faring data center, a system that gives users the ability to investigate the world's water ways for months on end. The SV3 features a hybrid propulsion system, Silicon Valley's Liquid Robotics said, that can drive the Wave Glider on either wave or solar power. It also comes with a vectored thruster that lets the robot continue its missions in high seas and dead calms alike.

At its heart, the SV3 is meant to carry a heavy duty load of sensors designed to serve everything from the oil and gas industry to fisheries to coast guards and the military. Its power management systems were designed, the company said, so that its on-board servers can continuously bring in data, and simultaneously analyze the information before transmitting conclusions via satellite communications.

The SV3 was also designed with a data center-like architecture allowing multiple users to each have their own data gathering and crunching take place at the same time, all totally independent of the other. And because the computers are meant to be strong enough to do most of the processing locally, the new Wave Glider can send back conclusions via high-bandwidth, low-power connectivity rather than large amounts of raw data that must then be analyzed once they arrive.

In a sense, Liquid Robotics is hoping that the Wave Glider SV3 can be the Amazon Web Services -- a floating server rack -- of the open oceans, said the company CEO Bill Vass. The system can be dynamically configurable, with multiple ARM-based processors, and can use either solid-sate or spinning disk storage. Customers can choose whatever combination works best for them.

The SV3 is also fully backward compatible with Liquid Robotics' previous generation Wave Glider SV2.