DIAB Divinycell core waveglider

Wave Glider A unique and cost-effective approach to monitoring the world's oceans

Monitoring and observing oceans on a global basis has traditionally been very expensive requiring complicated logistics to achieve a consistent result. Liquid Robotics has changed the game with the development of its unique, patented Wave Glider Unmanned Maritime Vehicle (UMV).

A unique two-part architecture and wing system mounted underneath the craft directly converts wave motion into thrust. Sandwich composites based on DIAB cores were chosen for the ‘hull’ and auxiliary structures of the Wave Glider to provide a lightweight structure that is capable of operating in open ocean scenarios for extended periods of time and in all seas states. For the composite components, Liquid Robotics worked closely with Lancair and IC Structures. Lancair (perhaps better known as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance aircraft) carried out the structural design work whereas IC Structures was responsible for manufacture and assembly.

Solar panels provide electricity for sensor payloads. By continuously harvesting energy from the environment, Wave Gliders are able to travel long distances, hold station, and patrol vast areas without ever needing to refuel. This means Wave Gliders can travel to a distant area, collect data, and return for maintenance without ever requiring a ship to leave port.

Under development for more than three years, the Wave Glider platform has already completed over one hundred thousand kilometers (62,000 miles) of operation and demonstrated mission durations in excess of one year. Over 5 watts continuously available payload power (dependent on the season and location) is provided by solar panels, generating 86 watts at peak output, connected to an onboard battery system rated at 665 Watt-hours.

Currently no functional, unmanned persistent surface vessels are available despite many government and civilian requirements for a persistent ocean presence. All current unmanned surface vehicles require externally supplied energy for missions longer than a few days. However, many ocean observation tasks – climate science, marine life monitoring, fishery protection and storm warning, etc. – require equipment to be positioned at the sea surface for long durations. The Wave Glider is a new solution, employing innovative technology including Diab sandwich composites to provide a new cost-effective approach to these missions.


Louise Eriksson Jacka
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