Liquid Robotics Debuts New Version of Wave Glider

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

Photo: Liquid Robotics

The next-generation Wave Glider — an unmanned surface vehicle that can traverse the surface of the ocean — will be able to collect intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data in rougher waters, for longer periods of time and while carrying more payloads, said a Liquid Robotics executive.

Deliveries of the updated system started in October, said Becky Tanner, vice president of marketing for the company.

“The next-generation platform is built on the existing success of the previous version,” she said during an interview at the Defence and Security Equipment International Conference in London. “We’ve continued to advance the platform even further and we’re finding that our customers more and more need the ability to go anywhere.”

That includes operating in challenging conditions, such as higher latitudes and higher sea states, for extended periods of time, Tanner added.

Physically, the vehicle looks much the same in terms of size and design; however, it now comes with a special, anti-biofouling copper coating that makes it easier to remove barnacles from the vessel.

“The copper color does patine quite quickly,” she said. “For our defense customers who remain very focused on being hard to detect out at water, once it patines, it blends in very well with the water [and turns] almost an aqua color.”

The system also has improved solar panels that enable 15 percent greater power collection, and a new battery system that provides 40 percent more storage.

The new Wave Glider can carry 30 percent more payload due to improved flotation technology, Tanner said.

Existing customers can purchase an upgrade kit that will convert older versions of the Wave Glider into the new system, she noted. The surface vehicle has been employed and tested by a variety of customers across the globe, including the U.S. Navy.

“Some of those existing … customers will take advantage of this,” she said. However, for others, “their desires aren’t high latitudes or high sea states, so we’re fortunate in the sense where we have a good mix of customers that have different needs.”

The Boeing Co. acquired Liquid Robotics — which is based in Sunnyvale, California — in late 2016.

Topics: Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Robotics

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