Bluefin and Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Enter Agreement to Advance Spray Glider Operational Capability in Response to Oil Spill

August 26, 2010 - via Bluefin Robotics

Cambridge, MA, USA—August 26, 2010—Bluefin Robotics is pleased to announce a Memorandum of Agreement with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) that establishes a framework that promotes the development of a Glider Research and Operations Center (GROC) at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). The purpose of the agreement is to collaboratively further glider-based marine science and technology research in the areas of education, autonomous vehicle development, manufacturing, and at-sea operations. Ultimately, the team aims to create an extended field presence with the Bluefin Spray Glider, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Atlantic regions for persistent environmental monitoring and data collection.
“In light of recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, the combination of the HBOI GROC and the Bluefin Spray Glider will fill a vital need in the long-term monitoring of this critical environment. The Spray has the necessary depth and endurance capabilities required to maintain a continuous monitoring presence. As the GROC Spray fleet expands, we will continue to support HBOI as they push into new areas of oceanographic research,” said Jeff Smith, Director of Programs at Bluefin Robotics.

Originally developed at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Bluefin Spray is an ideal platform to facilitate the teams’ goals in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. The system is a deep-diving, buoyancy-driven autonomous underwater vehicle that collects water column data profiles using a pumped oceanographic–grade Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) sensor and a variety of other instrumentation. To drive its motion, the glider manipulates its buoyancy by transferring food-grade mineral oil between its pressure hull and flooded payload compartment. This vertical buoyancy is converted into forward motion using a pair of wings, which allows the vehicle glide along a saw-tooth dive profile to depths up to 1500 meters. In this manner, the Spray is capable of deployments over periods exceeding 6 months establishing the system as a very efficient platform for persistent monitoring. A number of Spray Gliders are already deployed in the Gulf of Mexico by other oceanographic groups.

Bluefin Robotics manufactures and develops Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) systems, and technology. Founded in 1997, the company has grown to become a world leader in AUV products designed for military, commercial, and academic research applications. Bluefin Robotics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Battelle. For more information visit or contact Deanna Talbot at (617) 715-7080 or at

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research institute dedicated to exploration, innovation, conservation and education related to the oceans. Harbor Branch was founded in 1971 as a private non-profit organization. In December 2007, Harbor Branch joined Florida Atlantic University. The institute specializes in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, and marine education. For more information, visit 

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit

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Author:Deanna Abraham