The deep-sea cruising vessel URASHIMA is an autonomous deep-sea exploration robot which was developed by JAMSTEC since 1998. The vehicle is able to determine its own location and follow predefined courses configured in its onboard computer. On February 28, 2005 URASHIMA succeeded to complete the world-record, 317-km continuous cruise.
URASHIMA is able to automatically collect oceanographic data (such as salinity, water temperature and dissolved oxygen) required to clarify the mechanisms of global warming over an extensive areas. The vehicle is also able to cruise along the seafloor in order to acquire extremely high-resolution seafloor topography and sub-bottom structure. The vessel is navigated by program put into its computer, which means that it can perform surveys over a particular fixed location or up and down a defined narrow path or range.