The Wave Glider
The Wave Glider is the first unmanned autonomous marine robot to use only the ocean’s endless supply of wave energy for propulsion (no manpower, no emissions, no refueling). The Wave Glider employs a multi-patented design that allows it to cost-effectively collect and transmit data gathered during yearlong missions, over distances of thousands of miles, or while holding station. The Wave Glider enables game changing scientific discoveries to help us address the biggest challenges our world faces, including global climate change, national security, hurricane & tsunami warning, and offshore energy & resource management.
How it Works
Wave motion is greatest at the water’s surface, decreasing rapidly with increasing depth. The Wave Glider’s unique two-part architecture exploits this difference in motion to provide forward thrust. A rising wave lifts the Float, causing the tethered Sub to rise. The articulated wings on the Sub are pressed down and the upward motion of the Sub becomes an up-and-forward motion, in turn pulling the Float forward and off the wave. This causes the Sub to drop, the wings pivot up, and the Sub moves down-and-forward. This process is repeated again and again as long as there is wave motion on the surface, even the smallest amount.
A versatile platform, the Wave Glider is equipped with GPS and sophisticated computers for navigation and payload control, with satellite communication systems, and with state-of-the-art ocean sensors to monitor and measure the environment around it. The power needed to operate the sensors and computers is provided by solar panels. The Wave Glider is designed to exist harmoniously in the environments in which it operates.