Silicon Valley Startup Raises $22 million For Solar-Powered, Ocean-Going Robots

Liquid Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup, has raised a $22 million round of funding to expand its fleet of self-propelled, solar-powered, ocean-going robots. Called Wave Gliders, the robots currently are roaming the world’s oceans to monitor oil and gas wells, keep tabs water quality in the Gulf of Mexico and gather data on the melting of Arctic icecaps, according to Bill Vass, Liquid Robotics new chief executive. These Roombas-of-the-sea deploy fins that tap the up-and-down movement of waves to propel themselves through the ocean while solar panels power the Wave Gliders’ sensor and communications arrays. The base model costs $100,000 and Liquid Robotics has deployed nearly 100 Wave Gliders over the past year-and-a-half that have racked up 150,000 miles of ocean travel, according to the company.

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ST Robotics - R17HS-6, the 6-axis version of the high speed R17 variant

ST Robotics - R17HS-6, the 6-axis version of the high speed R17 variant

The 6-axis version of the R17HS high speed variant of the R17 robot is now available. As is our policy the 6th axis is an optional bolt-on module. At the same time we have made it even faster and new software eliminates shake and greatly improves repeatability as this video shows. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wG0MeiJ-yE. The video would seem to imply a repeatability of 0.01mm but we are sticking with 0.2mm in the spec. The motor specialist was able to tune the motors from the other side of the pond. My first reaction when we put power on and entered the first commands was to jump back in amazement (and maybe an expletive). Tip speed is now 3m/s; that's 3 times as fast as its nearest competitor yet costs half the price. I love it when a plan comes together.