iRobot to sell Seaglider underwater robot

iRobot to sell Seaglider underwater robot

Postby Markus Waibel on 20 Jun 2008, 09:06

Massachusetts based company "iRobot" has made a splash this week by announcing that it will build and sell the “Seaglider” underwater robot. The company which is well known for it's "Roomba" vacuum cleaner robots as well as for their "PackBot" military robot has licensed the technology for these man-sized autonomous submarines from the University of Washington in Seattle. The robots' ingenious design without moving external parts makes them extremely reliable and durable, with two of the robots autonomously travelling a record 3700km through the Labrador Sea over the course of seven months in 2004 and 2005.

The Seaglider's design is based on a hull which compresses as it sinks, matching the compressibility of seawater. Seagliders rise and sink by adjusting their volume to be either slightly smaller or larger than that of an equal mass of seawater. Simultaneously adjusting their attitude by moving mass within the vehicle allows them to glide through the water. The result of the changes in volume and attitude is a zig-zag motion from the surface to depths of 1000m and back up every 3 to 9 hours.

For more information on the Seaglider check out it's homepage at the Unversity of Washington: ... mmary.html

For an even cooler design which uses changes in water temperature to stay autonomous for years rather than months check out Webb's thermally-driven robotic glider: ... botic.html
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Re: iRobot to sell Seaglider underwater robot

Postby Johnny 5 on 21 Jul 2008, 09:48

Looks like the iRobot deal really got the competition - and market - heated up!

First of all, Bluefin has just announced its first commercial deal last Monday. Horizon Marine, an oceanographic services company in Marion, MA, that helps oil and gas companies map ocean currents in the vicinities of offshore oil rigs, acquired an undisclosed number of gliders to monitor potentially dangerous underwater currents.

And now Xconomy writes:

... it looks like Bluefin, iRobot, and a third local company—Falmouth, MA-based Webb Research, recently bought by Teledyne—will all be going up against each other for a big Navy contract for at least 154 of the glider-class robots.

Smith believes that iRobot and Webb Research have submitted competing proposals to supply gliders for the LBSF&I program. “It’s a very large procurement,” he says. The winning organization could be in an admirable position for the future, since the current LBSF&I contract “is just the first component of a six- or seven-tiered acquisition that the Navy is putting together to get a broader picture of the ocean,” says Smith.

The Navy is expected to announce which organization will receive the initial contract on September 15. To be seen!
Bluefin's highly autonomous underwater robot glider
Bluefin-Robotics-Glider.jpg (210.37 KiB) Viewed 10937 times
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Re: iRobot to sell Seaglider underwater robot

Postby R2-D2 on 23 Jul 2008, 10:57

Wha's the payload of these submarines? I mean it could help poor fisherman, which are "forced" to smuggle cocaine:" onclick=";return false;
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