Liquid Robotics®, an ocean data services provider and developer of the Wave Glider®, announced it has been officially awarded the Guinness World Record for the longest journey of an unmanned autonomous surface vehicle.
“Benjamin Franklin,” the Wave Glider named in honor of one of the United States’ founding fathers and the oceanographer who discovered and named the Gulf Stream Current, traveled farther than any other unmanned autonomous surface vehicle — land or sea. Amassing a total of 7939 nautical miles (14,703 km) for his trans-Pacific crossing, Benjamin is the second PacX Wave Glider (Papa Mau was the first) to complete the treacherous yearlong adventure to Australia. Ben began his journey on 17 November 2011 from California’s San Francisco Bay and navigated on a pre-programmed route across the high seas battling shark attacks, overcame severe currents and ended his travels navigating through Cyclone Freda (a Category 4 cyclone) to reach the southernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef. He arrived at Lady Musgrave Island near Bundaberg, Queensland Australia on 14 February 2013.
A key to achieving this world record was the Wave Glider’s revolutionary design that converts wave energy into forward propulsion and uses solar energy to power the onboard sensor payload, communications and computing. No fossil fuels are used. This energy independence enables Wave Gliders to stay out at sea for up to a year at time, through the harshest of weather, collecting, monitoring and transmitting data on everything from the weather, currents, fish migrations, water quality and security.
“It is very exciting for everyone at Liquid Robotics to be in a fast growing business that can also accomplish the achievement of receiving a Guinness World Record,” said Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics. “Without a doubt this recognition attests to the long endurance capability of the Wave Glider to tackle the most challenging missions. I speak for everyone at Liquid Robotics and our PacX supporters that we are honored to be certified as a Guinness World Record holder.”
The actual distance Benjamin traveled was 9,380.490 nautical miles (17,372.667 km), with 1,441.439 nautical miles (2,669.545 km) being the distance accumulated during the orbit and calibration of the Wave Glider sensors against scientific moorings located throughout the Pacific.
Along with the PacX Guinness World Record achievement, the PacX Wave Gliders have collected over 5.5 million discrete data points along their travels. This rich data set is being made available free to anyone who registers on www.liquidr.com/pacx/pacific-crossing.html.