Robots love to go forth in treacherous environments and show just how puny we humans really are. This time, sea-faring Wave Glider robots from Liquid Robotics have set off from San Francisco on a cross-Pacific journey to collect an incredible amount of data while also aiming to set the Guinness world record for the longest distance traveled by an unmanned ocean vehicle. The fleet of bots launched yesterday and the company expects them to collect about 2.25 million discrete data points during their yearlong, 33,000 nautical mile voyage, including data on ocean salinity, water temperature, waves, and weather.
Liquid Robotics is making the data available for free to anyone who signs up for it on its website, and is also offering a prize challenge to researchers — those who submit the best research abstract will get their hands on six months of free Wave Glider services. Of course, the bots have to make it back to safe harbor first, and with no harpoon launchers equipped there's no guarantee.