Australian Institute of Marine Science uses Wave Glider USV to monitor Great Barrier Reef



The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Boeing recently used the Liquid Robotics-developed Wave Glider USV to complete a seven-day open water mission, which was the “first major milestone of a five-year joint research agreement” between the two companies.

The mission, which covered 200 nautical miles including parts of North Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, showcased how the Wave Glider could evaluate the health of the coral reefs and ecosystems.

“Boeing and our Liquid Robotics team are proud to support AIMS in its mission to monitor the health of the Great Barrier Reef,” says Chris Raymond, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems.

“The demonstration proves how autonomous systems like our Wave Glider can improve upon human-based environmental data collection methods while also being safe and affordable.”

Using a suite of on-board sensors and software, the Wave Glider USV, which is powered by waves and sun, is capable of providing continuous, real-time environmental ocean data.

While traveling along the ocean’s surface, the USV measures a variety of things, including weather, wave heights, water salinity and pH levels, chlorophyll and more.

The data captured by the Wave Glider during this open water mission is still being analyzed by researchers.

“We are impressed with the number of different measurements it could conduct at the same time and its ability to transmit the data back to our base immediately and reliably while navigating and performing its mission,” says Lyndon Llewellyn, AIMS head of Data and Technology Innovation.

Since this technology can operate at sea for several months at a time while following a programmed course or being piloted remotely, Llewellyn says that the atmosphere and water can be measured over long periods of time.

The Wave Glider also allows human resources to focus on science instead of the logistics of collecting data, thanks to the USV's autonomous nature.