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Transportation Earth Education Robotics

Rutgers Attempts Robot Atlantic Crossing 67

Posted by timothy
from the anything-to-get-away-from-camden dept.
RUCOOL writes "Rutgers University students and staff launched a Slocum glider AUV in an attempt to be the first such vehicle to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Progress so far is good, but it will be a long 6- to 9-month journey. Status as well as other information can be tracked here. Media links can be found in the lower left section of page, among images, and storyline blogs." And Google Earth fans can track the vehicle's progress, too.
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Rutgers Attempts Robot Atlantic Crossing

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  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:22PM (#28045237) Homepage Journal

    The U.S. Navy has developed autonomous long range torpedo technology. In a completely unrelated article, Rutgers students announce that they have lost all contact with their AUV and have offered no explanation as to why....

    • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @05:33PM (#28046101) Homepage Journal

      The U.S. Navy has developed autonomous long range torpedo technology. In a completely unrelated article, Rutgers students announce that they have lost all contact with their AUV and have offered no explanation as to why....

      "It was worth the risk," said Rutgers spokesman. "No price is too high if it finally gets us out of New Jersey."

    • by bdp (41335)

      All you need to do is arm that glider, and it is an autonomous long range torpedo.

      • Except gliders move at about 1 foot per second. They move through small changes in buoyancy combined with orientation changes.

        Makes me think of the scene in Austin Powers, where the steamroller is running over the minions.

        • by fractoid (1076465)
          If it's silent and very difficult to pick up with radar, and looks like a large fish on sonar, what does it matter how long it takes to get there? Hell, you could have a bunch of them schmoozing around the ocean as an analogue to the 'mutually assured destruction' bombers circling the Arctic (are they still up there? >.> ) just with a longer delay between bust and kaboom.
  • Xcom (Score:5, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:27PM (#28045277) Homepage

    When I saw the google earth map, I had this overwhelming urge to send out subs to intercept it.

  • Arrrrrr... (Score:5, Funny)

    by liquidsunshine (1312821) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:34PM (#28045387) Homepage
    I bet it gets intercepted by pirates. Watch the parts end up on eBay in 6-9 months.
  • by offrdbandit (1331649) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:37PM (#28045427)
    In First Autonomous Act, Robot Flees New Jersey
    • by Thornburg (264444)

      You've already got +5, but I wanted to say:

      That made me laugh out loud, and posts of Slashdot very seldom have that effect.

  • Who the hell decided to call it the "Scarlet Knight?" It's freakin' yellow!
  • Slocum (Score:4, Funny)

    by inKubus (199753) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:48PM (#28045537) Homepage Journal

    It'll be much better when they invent the "Fastcum" glider. That will probably drop the trip down to 1 month instead of 6-9.

  • Robots! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:49PM (#28045551)
  • The Slocum page refers to 'fleets' of these autonomous vehicles being practical because of their low cost. But in any given area of interest, how long before they get caught in a fishing net?

    What are the legalities of fishing someone else's autonomous vehicle out of the sea? When can you deem such a thing 'abandoned'?

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @04:55PM (#28045625)

    Y'know, like a few kg of coke.

     

    • by sznupi (719324)

      "Informative"...only on /. ;p

      Though TBH I actually would be surprised if similar things wouldn't be used already, or planned to be used at least.

      Unless...it haven't really yet occured to people wishing for covert means of transport, in which case perhaps we should be a bit quiet about it, giving time for means of detection to improve...

      I actually was thinking about building small autonomous boat, solar powered, just for fun; guess I decided to keep playing with ground vehicles also until swimming ones will

  • I think this is going to become a growing phenomena, that of news of what robots can do and are doing. Just imagine it: first robot to cross the Atlantic! It's like Charles Lindbergh all over again. We can have first robot to fly around the world. First robot to climb Everest. First completely robotic hamburger joint (destined to put McDonald's out of business, and several others-- or would McDonald's buy the company). First robot to drive from LA to NY. First robot to reach the North / South pole. First ro

    • by inKubus (199753)

      Robots already fly around the world quite a bit. See Predator, UAV, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      First robot to intentionally kill a human.

      First robot to kill a hundred humans.

      First robot to single handedly wipe out an entire city of humans.

      First robot to kill a human while fueled entirely by the corpses of previous humans it killed.

      The list goes on and on!

      • Hey, hot mamma! Wanna kill all humans?

      • Those sound more like Achievements. Will they be using the Steam client for updates?
    • by Spaham (634471)

      unfortunately they're closer to drones than robots.
      They don't make any decisions, they're piloted by undergrads.
      Next step WILL be robots, not this one !

  • Re tasking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @05:04PM (#28045727)

    The small relative cost and the ability to operate multiple vehicles with minimal personnel and infrastructure will enable small fleets of gliders to study and map the dynamic (temporal and spatial) features of subsurface coastal waters around the clock and around the calendar.

    The small relative cost and the ability to operate multiple vehicles with minimal personnel and infrastructure will enable large fleets of gliders to transport many small loads of contraband through coastal waters around the clock and around the calendar.

    • They're not entirely subtle. If spotted (and if you're using them for contraband, they will be spotted) it wouldn't be hard at all to a) follow them back to the recipient or b) shoot them down. The latter seems more likely to me, since there are more addicts, competing drug lords and rednecks than there are DEA officers.
      • by Phurd Phlegm (241627) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @06:18PM (#28046685)

        They're not entirely subtle. If spotted (and if you're using them for contraband, they will be spotted) it wouldn't be hard at all to a) follow them back to the recipient or b) shoot them down.

        You do understand that they operate underwater, right? Mostly, stuff that's underwater is kind of hard to see and even harder to "shoot down."

        • Whoops. That'll teach me not to RTFA. I just saw UAV and assumed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. 8^)
  • Next we'll hear that this is being combined with the robot soldiers to fight pirates.
  • Who owns it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Thursday May 21, 2009 @05:25PM (#28045995)
    I remember discussions around similar projects that all have a common problem: In international waters,
    unmanned seacraft or floating objects are considered flotsam and belong to whoever gets on board or fishes
    it out of the water.

    Now what happens if somebody helpfully "recovers" this craft and claims a reward for his good deed?
    • Now what happens if somebody helpfully "recovers" this craft and claims a reward for his good deed?

      You don't think robot designers would have thought of that?

      Anyone attempting to "collect" it will have their unique technological features added to its own.

  • Anyone else remember the TAMs Model Airplane [plannet21.com] project from 2003? Similar idea as the Rutgers project, but they did it with a model airplane (and I'm guessing no where near the funding dollars that Rutgers has).
  • The insistence on anthropomorphizing this device on the linked site is just a bit too much. ...she...her... The Scarlet Knight

    "This past week we got a nice dose of Scarletâ(TM)s personality when she missed a few of her call in times. During these periods of 'No Comms' or no communication we of course were worried about her but she finally called home to check in. It became evident to us that she is the independent younger sister compared to her older sister RU17. RU17 never hesitated to call us for hel

    • by lgw (121541)

      Ships are female. It's a very old navy tradition (and they do "cost a lot to keep in powder and paint"). It's perhaps a bit of a stretch to call this a ship, but if it does cross an ocean then I wouldn't argue.

  • Pfft..

    If a dumb plastic bottle can make it [smh.com.au] across the Atlantic, this will too.
  • The Slocum Glider is a uniquely mobile network component capable of moving to specific locations and depths and occupying controlled spatial and temporal grids. Driven in a sawtooth vertical profile by variable buoyancy, the glider moves both horizontally and vertically.

    Network component... spatial and temporal grid... sawtooth profile...

    Is this some kind of boat, or a time-travelling Skynet overlord ready to kill us all?

  • It's been done. On August 11, 2003, a model airplane designed by famous aeromodeller Maynard Hill successfully navigated its way from Newfoundland to Ireland. In fact, a group from the university of Washington did it in 1998 with an autonomous aircraft but it weighed more than the allowed weight for a model aircraft. The Rutgers group is doing it underwater, but they are not nearly the first. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0805_020805_transatlantic.html [nationalgeographic.com] Zigmun

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