Plot map of the path of the SOLO-TREC autonomous underwater vehicle since its deployment south of Hawaii on November 30, 2009 (Image: NASA/JPL/SIO/NOAA/US Navy/NGA/GEBCO/Google)
The SOLO-TREC autonomous underwater vehicle is deployed off the coast of Hawaii on an ocean endurance test, November 30, 2009 (Image: NASA/JPL/US Navy/Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
We’ve covered a few underwater autonomous robots designed to make exploring the murky depths easier here on Gizmag, such as Snookie and the Talisman, but none that can generate its own power – until now. NASA, US Navy and university researchers have successfully demonstrated the first underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural, renewable, ocean thermal energy. Scalable for use on most robotic oceanographic vehicles, this technological breakthrough could usher in a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicles capable of virtually indefinite ocean monitoring for climate and marine animal studies, exploration and surveillance.
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