Some of you may remember our episode on the highly advanced underwater vehicles of Massachusetts' Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at the beginning of this year. One of Wood's Hole's most emblematic vehicles, the Autonomous Benthic Explorer or ABE, has now just gone missing in action.
During it's 222nd dive, ABE went out to further investigate evidence of hydrothermal vents off the coast of Chile when contact was lost and all attempts to relocate the vehicle failed. ABE was one of the first successful unmanned, free-swimming submersible vehicles and came to fame by heralding a new area of autonomous underwater vehicles upon its launch in 1995.
It was also named one of the Top 50 Robots of all time by Wired Magazine in 2006.
For some technical background on the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) have a look at ABE in the AUVAC database.