Underwater Drones to Map Oceans

Will travel more than 60,000 miles

Mar 12, 2014
Outside Magazine

A fleet of 16 underwater drones will travel more than 60,000 miles as part of a two-year quest to map the world’s oceans.

The gliders, part of a Rutgers University research project, will collect data on ocean currents, temperatures, and salinity. Scientists hope the information will improve the accuracy of current climate and weather forecasting.

The seven-foot-long unmanned submarines will rely on energy from buoyancy changes as they travel roughly 21 miles per day. They’ll navigate the waters using altitude and depth sensors, as well as GPS and an altimeter.

“Part of our goal with this mission is to increase global ocean literacy,” Scott Glenn, co-leader of the mission, told the Telegraph. “This expanded dataset will enable students and researchers to focus on the science of their local waters, as well as be a part of a global research community, all working toward understanding the ocean's role in regulating the changing climate and weather.”

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