Ocean Robot Completes Record-Setting 10,000 Mile Journey
The Mars rover Curiosity may be the most famous robot on - or off - the planet but an ocean-going bot named Papa Mau just set a world’s record for robot-kind by traveling more than 10,000 miles from San Francisco to Australia powered only by waves and sunlight.
Liquid Robotics, the Silicon Valley startup that makes the surfboard-sized robot called a Wave Glider, announced Wednesday that Papa Mau arrived off the coast of Queensland, Australia, on Nov. 20 after surviving storms, sharks and 25-foot surf while its solar-powered sensor arrays collected terabytes of data on ocean and atmospheric conditions during the year-long journey.
“The vehicle actually surprised me by the condition it was in when we pulled it out,” Graham Hine, Liquid Robotics’ senior vice president of product management, told me Wednesday. “The paint was scuffed and there was some wear on the bushings but other than that and a few critters attached here and there it could have kept going.”