By Andy Choi
iRobot Corp. has come up with a newly configured Seaglider UUV. The new seaglider has changes that significantly increase the Unmanned Underwater Vehicle’s volume and mass payload capabilities. It can carry four kgs as compared to the two kgs of the original design. The payload volume is also expanded to 21,000 cubic centimeters.
David Heinz, vice president of Maritime Systems at iRobot said that the Seaglider has proven to be an extremely valuable tool for government agencies and the oceanographic community. He added that researchers have expressed a need for more sensing capabilities on Seaglider, so that it can be used in a wider range of missions. This new configuration has allowed new sensors to be integrated with Seaglider, opening the door to future development efforts and potential new markets.
Seagliders have been used by both government agencies and oceanographers in the past. After the oil spill from the BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico the Seagliders were equipped with sensors that could detect underwater oil plumes as well.
The new design also lets the Seaglider operate at a depth between 65 feet to 3,280 feet. The UUV can be out at sea for 9 months for a mission without needing to replace its batteries. The new design of the Seaglider will be on display at the OCEANS '11 conference from September 19-21 in Kona, Hawaii.