The photo shows a prototype of the underwater glider for virtual mooring being tested under water in a tank.
Approximately 3,500 Argo floats have been deployed into the ocean across the world, and they are collecting data every day. Argo floats, however, cannot focus the observation on a specific area since they drift. Consequently, the development of the underwater glider for virtual mooring began.
The vehicle which carries a buoyancy engine can dive up to the depth of 3,000 meters, and measure the salinity, temperature, pressure and other profiles while descending to the seafloor and ascending to the sea surface repeatedly at fixed intervals. At the sea surface, it transmits the observed data via the satellite system to a land-based facility, and locates itself using GPS.
The ultimate goal is to develop a vehicle which can stay in a specific area for fixed-point observation while keeping the body in balance under water and controlling its own direction by moving the on-board ballast weight.
The first field tests were conducted in March, 2012.
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