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Fetch/Tsunami Node & Wave Glider Ocean Observing Demonstration Project

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In early September off the coast of New York, a team from Sonardyne, Liquid Robotics, and Rutgers University, launched a Liquid Robotics Wave Glider® and deployed two undersea nodes as part of the second leg of extensive ocean observing technology demonstration project. The project is an advanced technology demonstration being performed by MARACOOS and NOAA NDBC and managed by NOAA IOOS. The goal of the project is to test two new high technology ocean observing tools in the New England and mid-Atlantic coastal waters. The Wave Glider and Undersea Nodes, called Fetch, and Tsunami Sensor work in tandem.

The Undersea Nodes are deployed in 500 ft and 8000 ft of water respectively. The Fetch measures ocean temperature and pressure while the Tsunami Detector uses and advanced sensor suite to detect tsunamis.

The Wave Glider will record data on wind, waves, water temperature and salinity from its own sensor suite as it travels between the undersea nodes which are located 50 miles apart. Once the Wave Glider is above the undersea nodes at their individual sites, it will upload both real-time and logged sea bottom sensor data. All data is then transmitted onwards from the Wave Glider to shore-based operations using satellite radio transmission.

More Data at a Lower Cost

There is an increasing requirement to collect oceanographic data from a larger number of sites and at a lower cost than the traditional means of using: ships, moored buoys or observing systems that rely on cables that are extended from the shore. The combination of Wave Glider and Fetch nodal technologies represent a paradigm shift in ocean observing as its cost of deployment and maintenance is considerable less than the traditional systems.

The Wave Glider

Wave GliderA freshly built Wave Glider soaks up some rays in the parking lot of Liquid Robotics' Sunnyvale engineering and manufacturing facility. Image courtesy of Liquid Robotics.

The Wave Glider is a configurable ocean observing platform designed to support a wide variety of sensor payloads. Data is transmitted to shore via satellite, and the continuous surface presence means that data can be delivered as it is collected.
Wave Gliders are able to travel long distances (2500+ miles), hold station, and monitor vast areas without ever needing to refuel by continuously harvesting wave energy from the environment. A unique two-part architecture and wing system directly converts wave motion into thrust, and solar panels provide electricity for sensor payloads. This means that Wave Gliders can travel to a distant area, collect data, and return for maintenance without ever requiring a ship to leave port.

Fetch/Tsunami Undersea Nodes

Undersea NodeUndersea node. Image courtesy of Sonardyne, Inc

The Fetch and Undersea Nodes are lightweight autonomous ocean monitoring node manufactured by Houston-based Sonardyne Inc.  The Nodes are free-fall deployed to the seabed and has sufficient battery endurance for deployments of up to five years depending on measurement type and frequency. It can be configured with an array of different sensors. Data logged by the Fetch node can be retrieved on-demand wirelessly via Sonardyne advanced high data rate acoustic modem transmitters and receivers that are located on both the Fetch Node and Wave Glider.

Multi Sector Partnership

This project is a collaboration among industry, academia and government and is being funded through the internal resources of each entity. This type of collaboration represents a highly expedient method of implementing new technologies.

Realtime track and data from the Mercury Wave Glider >>
Wave Glider Page