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Rutgers Attempts Robot Atlantic Crossing

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the anything-to-get-away-from-camden dept.

Transportation 67

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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In Other News... (4, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045237)

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....

Re:In Other News... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045273)

Richard Stallman is fat.

Re:In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045603)

That would actually be a hilarious prank by the navy, i think id even forgive them for wasting my tax dollars on a torpedo.

Re:In Other News... (4, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046101)

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."

Re:In Other News... (1)

bdp (41335) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046835)

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

Re:In Other News... (1)

skelterjohn (1389343) | more than 5 years ago | (#28047497)

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.

Re:In Other News... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28048595)

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.

Slashdot users are losers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045265)

Uninstall ubuntu, get Windows 7 Ultimate ins.

Re:Slashdot users are losers (1)

nexxuz (895394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28053543)

Wow that is an awesome argument! You talked me into it!!!

Xcom (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045277)

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

Re:Xcom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045373)

no engineering details on their site.

Is it electic?

Re:Xcom (1)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045523)

I'm just waiting for something to eat it.

Arrrrrr... (5, Funny)

liquidsunshine (1312821) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045387)

I bet it gets intercepted by pirates. Watch the parts end up on eBay in 6-9 months.

Better Headline (5, Funny)

offrdbandit (1331649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045427)

In First Autonomous Act, Robot Flees New Jersey

Re:Better Headline (1)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045691)

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.

Re:Better Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28046089)

Funniest thing I have read in long time.

Scarlet Knight (1)

GMThomas (1115405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045473)

Who the hell decided to call it the "Scarlet Knight?" It's freakin' yellow!

Re:Scarlet Knight (3, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045509)

Its the universities mascot.

Re:Scarlet Knight (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045739)

Who the hell decided to call it the "Scarlet Knight?" It's freakin' yellow!

The Blue Raja: I'm a superhero, mother.
Blue Raja's mother: A superhero?
The Blue Raja: An effete British superhero, to be precise. I am pilfering your tableware because I hurl it. I hurl it with a deadly accuracy. The Blue Raja is my name. And yes, I know I don't wear much blue and I speak in a British accent, but if you know your history it really does make perfect sense.

Perhaps you just don't know the history behind the name. I know I don't.

Re:Scarlet Knight (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046007)

"The Yellow Knight" just didn't have the same ring to it...

Re:Scarlet Knight (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046447)

Umm... how about... "The Yellow Submarine [wikipedia.org] "?

Or... I mean... Woooshh. ^^

Re:Scarlet Knight (1)

Jens Egon (947467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051699)

Would you really want to live in that thing?

6-9 months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045527)

Perhaps I'm misreading this...

Latest Glider Data
As of: May 21, 2009 16:12 GMT
Latitude
37.4 ÂN
Longitude
55.3 ÂW
Days at Sea
24
Distance
2,267 km
Water Speed
0.43 m/s

It's been gone for 24 days, and it is 29.5% done with its trip. It still has 917 of 1000 units of energy in it's battery.

Is the mid and end trip going to be significantly longer? If not, then shouldn't it be done in 2 months?

Re:6-9 months? (5, Informative)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045609)

We will soon be exiting the Gulf Stream which means things will start to move a lot slower and many more challenges will be thrust upon us.

from http://rucool.marine.rutgers.edu/atlantic/ [rutgers.edu]

also see here for an explanation of how it moves:
http://rucool.marine.rutgers.edu/atlantic/about_gliders.html [rutgers.edu]

Slocum (3, Funny)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045537)

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.

Re:Slocum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045851)

I like to cum fast and hard and then get the hell outta dodge.

Re:Slocum (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28055369)

They made a version like that, but found it less satisfying.

Caught in a Net (1)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045559)

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'?

Re:Caught in a Net (1)

PagosaSam (884523) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046321)

Damn it, another robot! Throw it back... I want a tuna!

Re:Caught in a Net (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28048363)

Our tuna is Robot Safe [noaa.gov]

What about a payload? (3, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045625)

Y'know, like a few kg of coke.

 

Re:What about a payload? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28052079)

"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 be common enough that mine won't have much chance of attracting attention of people I wouldn't want to deal with...

Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045631)

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 robot to swim the English Channel. First translation assistant/secretary robot (protocol droid?).

Man it's good to be alive right now ^_^ You'll be sure to read many of these stories in my upcoming Novel(s) :)

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28045735)

Any faggot who uses bixies shouldn't be writing anything for public consumption.

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045773)

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

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28049809)

Not autonomously.

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046075)

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!

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046263)

Hey, hot mamma! Wanna kill all humans?

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28051277)

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

I actually have an idea how to start this development: That would be a really cool robot to eradicate invasive species, e.g. as one of these gliders in the Great Lakes "eating" zebra mussels, or to up the challenge, roaming Australia, eating rabbits.

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28055335)

There's already a precedent in the slug-eating robot [google.com] . I don't see any articles later than 2001. My guess is it turned out that making a robot that plucks slugs from your garden without destroying your garden vegetables in the process was harder than it seemed. Obviously the human-eating robot wouldn't have that problem.

I gotta say I'm glad this seemed to go nowhere, and I hope it wasn't picked up by DARPA or something. The guys making Asimo could crack jokes about how it'll become the Terminator and not sound like insane fools since Asimo is unlikely to decide it must destroy humanity. But to actually design a robot that consumes organic matter, which is only a step away from craves, is just 50s-sci-fi-scientist crazy.

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

FoxDude0486 (920496) | more than 5 years ago | (#28054229)

Those sound more like Achievements. Will they be using the Steam client for updates?

Re:Robotic 'Firsts' (1)

Spaham (634471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046435)

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 !

Google Earth Fans Weep (-1, Offtopic)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045655)

Ubuntu 09.4 makes Google Earth crash on my Intel/845 video chip, so it's unusable for tracking anything.

Re:Google Earth Fans Weep (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28047001)

Your intel video chip makes the Baby Jesus cry. Are you using a janky netbook, or just a difference engine? Abacus perhaps?

Re:Google Earth Fans Weep (0, Redundant)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28047767)

I'm using one of the most common motherboards ever made, still widely in use, a P4/2.6 that should easily run Google Earth, like many millions of people are (though none of us can use the latest Ubuntu with GE).

Don't cry, Baby Jesus. Your abacus is miraculous, so it should run GE. Or just go ahead and use the real Earth as your plaything.

Re tasking (4, Interesting)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Re tasking (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045917)

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.

Re:Re tasking (4, Funny)

Phurd Phlegm (241627) | more than 5 years ago | (#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."

Re:Re tasking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28048287)

You do understand the United States has had a very significant interest in underwater vehicles approaching it's shores, right?

Re:Re tasking (2, Informative)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28048733)

You do understand the United States has had a very significant interest in underwater vehicles approaching it's shores, right?

Indeed they do. But I'd imagine these things are pretty quiet.

FTFA:

[...] underwater gliders move around by changing their buoyancy, that is they change their density such that they alternate between more dense and less dense than the surrounding ocean water. This change in buoyancy causes the glider to rise and sink in the ocean. The glider changes its density by moving a small piston forward and back that increases and decreases its volume. You may remember that you can calculate the density of an object by taking its mass and dividing that by the object's volume. Since the mass of the glider remains constant, all we need to do is change its volume. A small change in volume (about a half cup of water) is all the glider needs to change its density enough to rise and sink in the ocean.

I would imagine these things are pretty quiet. Run them about 50 feet underwater and I doubt the government would be able to hear them.

Re:Re tasking (1)

getto man d (619850) | more than 5 years ago | (#28060001)

You do understand the United States has had a very significant interest in underwater vehicles approaching it's shores, right?

Indeed they do. But I'd imagine these things are pretty quiet.

FTFA:

[...] underwater gliders move around by changing their buoyancy, that is they change their density such that they alternate between more dense and less dense than the surrounding ocean water. This change in buoyancy causes the glider to rise and sink in the ocean. The glider changes its density by moving a small piston forward and back that increases and decreases its volume. You may remember that you can calculate the density of an object by taking its mass and dividing that by the object's volume. Since the mass of the glider remains constant, all we need to do is change its volume. A small change in volume (about a half cup of water) is all the glider needs to change its density enough to rise and sink in the ocean.

I would imagine these things are pretty quiet. Run them about 50 feet underwater and I doubt the government would be able to hear them.

Not too quiet. To determine navigation AUVs usually use forms of sonar. That and since this is an "experiment" it should have a pinger - other commercial scientific AUVs do so you can recover if there is a glitch.

Re:Re tasking (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28055437)

Whoops. That'll teach me not to RTFA. I just saw UAV and assumed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. 8^)

Great. (1)

Nesman64 (1093657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28045791)

Next we'll hear that this is being combined with the robot soldiers to fight pirates.

Who owns it? (4, Interesting)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 5 years ago | (#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?

What happens is distinctive (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046249)

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.

Re:Who owns it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28047979)

Actually, most of these type of vehicles have prominent labels saying "if found call this number and return to Rutgers, we will pay you for the shiping"

Re:Who owns it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28048769)

They are tracked and it's obvious when someone picks them up. They call home every few hours so we know where they're at. Doesn't happen too often. We have ransomed them back. It's worse when they get run-over by a ship and are never heard from again.

TAM - Trans Atlantic Model Airplane Project ? (1)

b5o5m5b (1467405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28046069)

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).

Thrilled with the turnout! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28047157)

Hope they warned campus security about this wild bunch!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rutgers_coo/3502538162/

2nd Attempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28055487)

Flickr [flickr.com]
Sorry, here's the correct link.
(Rutgers_Cool was missing the 'l')

Oh geezze (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#28048003)

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 help and share her troubles; she was a very good communicator. Scarlet however appears to be a bit more independent. She has also demonstrated her great climbing ability, which should prove useful in keeping her out of trouble when biology comes knocking."

Ya think the 'team' is loaded with women that have issues, or what?

Re:Oh geezze (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28048195)

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.

Message in a Bottle (1)

prakslash (681585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28048945)

Pfft..

If a dumb plastic bottle can make it [smh.com.au] across the Atlantic, this will too.

A little help here (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28051871)

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?

Re:In Other News... (1)

Zigmun_Barsac (861070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28056209)

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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