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Swimming Robot Reaches Australia After Record-Breaking Trip

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the sink-or-swim dept.

Science 72

SternisheFan writes "A self-controlled swimming robot has completed a journey from San Francisco to Australia. The record-breaking 9,000 nautical mile (16,668km) trip took the PacX Wave Glider just over a year to achieve. Liquid Robotics, the U.S. company behind the project, collected data about the Pacific Ocean's temperature, salinity and ecosystem from the drone. The company said its success demonstrated that such technology could 'survive the high seas.' The robot is called Papa Mau in honor of the late Micronesian navigator Pius 'Mau' Piailug, who had a reputation for finding ways to navigate the seas without using traditional equipment. 'During Papa Mau's journey, [it] weathered gale-force storms, fended off sharks, spent more than 365 days at sea, skirted around the Great Barrier Reef, and finally battled and surfed the east Australian current to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay, near Bundaberg, Queensland,' the company said in a statement. Some of the data it gathered about the abundance of phytoplankton -plant-like organisms that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and provide food for other sea life -could already be monitored by satellite. However, the company suggested that its equipment offered more detail, providing a useful tool for climate model scientists."

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Hello (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199133)

I've just poured hot grits down my pants.

not more boat people (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199165)

Not another illegal arrival from overseas, we get enough of those already!
Swimming is a new way to do it though, most use boats... :-)

Re:not more boat people (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#42199445)

Don't worry, it'll get through. They were smart and painted it white.

Re:not more boat people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200407)

why isnt this on the news?

Re:not more boat people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42201949)

Robots don't have human rights yet.

It they did, it would need to be deported.

pronounciation (3, Informative)

whitehatnetizen (997645) | about 2 years ago | (#42199235)

just FYI so that you non-aussies start hearing it wrong in your heads: Hervey bay is pronounced "Harvie" like "Barbie" but with a 'v'.

Re:pronounciation (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42199363)

just FYI so that you non-aussies start hearing it wrong in your heads: Hervey bay is pronounced "Harvie" like "Barbie" but with a 'v'.

Thank you, but what makes you think "aussies" are pronouncing it correctly?

I mean, it would be a first.

Re:pronounciation (1, Offtopic)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42199399)

Because we are. You can use the name and pronouce it any way you like when you use it.

Re:pronounciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199803)

I like that. It is the classiest way of saying 'I'll pronounce it however I want. Now fuck off.'

The "Humpty Dumpty defense". (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42200427)

I like that. It is the classiest way of saying 'I'll pronounce it however I want. Now fuck off.'

Technically that is known as the humpty dumpty defense. Having said that I'm also an Aussie and agree with the OP on the pronounciation of an Australian place name, because we are Aussies we may have local knowledge that you lack, so it would be unfair to classify the GP's post as a humpty dumpty defense.

A much better translation would be "Fuck off tourist".

Re:pronounciation (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#42199673)

There are regional pronunciations of localities such as Jervis Bay, Launceston, Cairns, Lalor, Reservoir.

Castlemaine, VIC and Newcastle, NSW both have 'Castle' in their name but are likely to be pronounced differently either side of the Murray.

Then there's derby/darby, which is what the 'Hervey' debate is about. Many Aussies would pronounce it , "incorrectly", as Her-V

Which is what happens when you name places after obscure 18thC British noblemen with non-phonetic names.

Re:pronounciation (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#42200111)

I'd pronounce it "hair-vay" or "Her-vay" (rhyming with survey), or even "Her-vee" (rhyming with curvy), but I'd never get "Harvey" out of it.

Re:pronounciation (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#42200257)

Nonetheless, 'Harvey' Bay it is.

It's really quite common for place names not to be said the way they 'look', even when the same word/name/phoneme in other contexts, in the same language and dialect, is commonly pronounced a different way.

And that is the case all over the world. Lots of examples in the UK obviously, but also in the US. Mobile, AL springs to mind. Or the state of Arkansas.

Re:pronounciation (2)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 2 years ago | (#42201433)

At least it's not as bad as the UK, where you can have a town with a name that's written in eight syllables but pronounced in two.

Re:pronounciation (1)

Chrisbie77 (664669) | about 2 years ago | (#42199733)

Yep, Oi am happy to admit it's us who cahn't spoik propahly. Howevah, being irresistable to American women just by speaking is fair compensation for the shame of Oi must enduah from such comments.. :-)

Re:pronounciation (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42199919)

Lucky bastard ... I don't suppose if I went to Australia women would suddenly find a Canadian irresistable (eh)?

Re:pronounciation (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42200245)

I don't suppose if I went to Australia women would suddenly find a Canadian irresistable (eh)?

Are you kidding? Of course they'd find you irresistible. The common Australian accent is no easier on the ears of Australian women than it is on ours.

Re:pronounciation (3, Funny)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42200375)

Do you have any evidence to support that? Anecdotal evidence is fine.

In New Zealand they say that Australian women have the best sense of humour in the world and continually prove it by marrying Australian men.

Re:pronounciation (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42200249)

A Canadian or Californian accent is a big plus in the romance stakes here in Australia. Regional accents from North America can be more help or less depnding on the accent. At a guess I'd say a Louisiana accent was the best and even a broad Brooklyn accent was some advantage. Naturally a lot depends on the packaging but any American accent wil help to get you laid in Australia.

norcal or so cal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200413)

I mean, like, this is important dude... is it, like tubular? or just hella good?

Or are we talking central valley California (which isn't much different than Oklahoma, it turns out).. say you were from Erldale ( a bit north of Bakersfield)

Is it "all-mond" or "aa - mond"?

Do you drive on "the 405 freeway to Santa Monica" or "take 580 to Livermore"

What about the characteristic "caught"/"cot" distinction?

Re:norcal or so cal? (2)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42200475)

Santa Monica is the best Californian accent to have to get laid in Australia - some of the LA accents are all but incomprehensible here and the San Diego accent is "strange" - sorry that's the best word I have for it.

The best way to use the accent if you have it is to have their attention first without saying anything, wait a moment (half a second to a second - enough to let them make assumptions subconsciously) while looking at them with a smile that is probably better a grin than a cheesy smile. Then let let the smile spread to your eyes and say "Hi". Just like shooting fish in a barrel.

Re:norcal or so cal? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42204095)

*furiously takes notes* ;-)

Re:pronounciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200017)

Works both ways, British, Aussie and Kiwi women find my brand of American very enticing.

Re:pronounciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42201005)

While it's true that we pronounce some words terribly in Australia what people from the USA don't seem to realise is that they also have an absolutely dreadful ability at pronouncing certain words too (for example, the word "mobile", loan-words used in English from other languages and the names of other countries and cities).

Re:pronounciation (1)

treeves (963993) | about 2 years ago | (#42201177)

Who are aow-sees?

Re:pronounciation (5, Funny)

Dipsomaniac (1102131) | about 2 years ago | (#42199375)

'Varbie'.
Got it.

Re:pronounciation (3, Funny)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 2 years ago | (#42199847)

'Varbie'.

Got it.

No, numbnuts... it's 'barbie' with a 'v'.

I.e., 'bvrbie.'

Re:pronounciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200053)

Yes, thank you, that was the joke.

*sigh*

Re:pronounciation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199401)

And just FYI for the non-aussies, a "barbie" is what you cook your shrimp on. Except you call them prawns. G'day!

Re:pronounciation (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42199753)

We do have shrimp as well as prawns, it's just that while they're the same basic animal prawns can get really big, bigger than marron sometimes, and shrimps are necessarily small, about thumbnail size.

We use a lot of food names differently, for example papaya are called pawpaw, which is apparently really a fruit indigenous to the Ozark Mountains and whose name we got from the gold miners from California who came to Victoria and New South Wales 150 years ago. And so because papayas are universally called pawpaw here the word papaya is used for a particular kind of "pawpaw".

Two other common words the Yankee miners gave us are goanna (iguana) for the big local lizards and possum (opossum) for a similar and closely related critter.

And just for the record, the word barbie comes from the US too, through the word barbacoa.

Re:pronounciation (1)

black6host (469985) | about 2 years ago | (#42200891)

We do have shrimp as well as prawns, it's just that while they're the same basic animal prawns can get really big, bigger than marron sometimes, and shrimps are necessarily small, about thumbnail size.

No wonder I don't feel very full after eating "Shrimp on the Barbie" here at Outback in the states :) They've been holding out on us, eating all the prawns themselves. Bastards!

Re:pronounciation (1, Interesting)

Chrisbie77 (664669) | about 2 years ago | (#42199447)

To be fully native, it's like "Hahvie Bye" - our vowels are "all jacked up" - as my American sheila tells me. Also they make rum in Bundaberg, lots of it - "Liquid Robotics" hmmm.. expect the robot back with a patch over one of it's sensors and a bottle of rum... and a parrot.

Re:pronounciation (1)

Andhesaidtome (2738249) | about 2 years ago | (#42199593)

I wonder whether it landed closer to the Pialba (Pie-Al-Bah) end or the Urangan (You-Rang-Gan) end. 'Hervey Bay near Fraser Island, Queensland' would have been more descriptive then 'near Bundaberg'.

Re:pronounciation (1)

Nostromo21 (1947840) | about 2 years ago | (#42199645)

Bundy is not rum. It is an abomination in the sight and taste of both god & man.

Re:pronounciation (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#42199903)

Bundaberg Rum is actually quite yummy once you get past its strong, er, personality. Drunk in excess however, and excess is significantly less than for other spirits, it will find the worst aspects of your personality and make you a slave to them for a while. The last time I drank it I punched my friend's father when I was Best man at his son's wedding. I strongly advise experimenting with it in a non-social setting if you feel you must experiment with it at all. There are plenty of deserted beaches that are quite suitable.

Re:pronounciation (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#42200087)

Bundy is not rum. It is an abomination in the sight and taste of both god & man.

Ah! So it's better than rum.

Re:pronounciation (1)

dwywit (1109409) | about 2 years ago | (#42199707)

Can't think of Bundy Rum without thinking about Rich Hall's take on the stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkH5_aGRC8g [youtube.com]

"'holy shit this is liquid crack, what the fuck are you lookin' at? Come over here and I will beat you like a drum"

Re:pronounciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200151)

You know I read slashdot, right?

Signed, Your American Sheila. :P

Re:pronounciation (1)

Tankgirl28 (2733699) | about 2 years ago | (#42200211)

And look what happened. I had my keyboard set to upside-down and forgot to log in properly. You understand. ;p

Re:pronounciation (1)

rHBa (976986) | about 2 years ago | (#42200403)

battled and surfed the east Australian current to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay, near Bundaberg

? Many are the times that my final destination has been near Bundaberg, if I remember correctly?!?

Re:pronounciation (1)

Alien Being (18488) | about 2 years ago | (#42200425)

Sure, but is it anywhere near near Tullamore, Seymour, Lismore, Maroochydore,
Kilmore, Nambour, Moolimbah, Birdsville, Emmaville, Wallaville, Cundamunda,
Cundabine, Strathpine, Prosapine, Ulladulla, Darwin, Gin Gin, Deniliquin, Muckadilla,
Emmaville, Kullavilla, Moree, Taree, Jarildabee, Banbawa, Toowoomba, Gunnedah,
Gurringbah, Woolloomooloo, Dalvin, Tambourin, Engadine, Jindabyne, Lithgow,
Casino, Brigalow, Narabine, Megalong, Wyalong, Oolong, Orgathella, Morella,
Indapella, Whyalla, Dandenong, Woodabong, Ballaratt, Canberra, Mildura,
Unanderra, Captain’s Flat, Cloncurrie, River Murray, Kurri Kurri, Girrableen, Terrigal,
Stockinbingal, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Bendigo, Darraglow, Bangalow, Indapirrie,
Urabilli, Kirribilli or Wallumbilli?

Michael w leroy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199309)

It is best tips for me. Michael w leroy is a man of mild mind. He is a high ambitious person. He has great desires to be a reach man. He doesn't like talk so much as he achieved B.B.A and M.B.A degree from a renowned University. http://images.jailbase.com/arrested/fl-occ/2012-07-14/michael-w-leroy-12025696.pic1.jpg [jailbase.com] I am also impressed with his behavior. I like to talk with him. He has convincing power that I should say great! He is honest in his work and performance. He is also courteous. He has another power that I can do anything on which he has no predicated experience. Say to true he is a religious person with due personality.

Gilligan... (1, Funny)

billybob_jcv (967047) | about 2 years ago | (#42199357)

taught the robot to dog paddle....

And after the robot reached shore... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199379)

he realized he'd forgotten his laptop computer, and would have to swim back.

Fended off sharks? (1)

vantango (719830) | about 2 years ago | (#42199537)

How do it do this?

Re:Fended off sharks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199629)

frickin' lazers

Re:Fended off sharks? (2)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about 2 years ago | (#42199643)

Mirrors, obviously. Everybody know the lasers are on the sharks...

Re:Fended off sharks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199633)

I was wondering the same thing, sounds like market/journalist/dumbass-speak. Sensationalism sells to morons.

Re:Fended off sharks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42199981)

It swam into the shark's mouth then exited the other end when the shark wasn't looking. Also, it wasn't covered in blood.

bloody immigrants (0)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#42199779)

Hey robot f*ck off we're full!

STRAYA C*NT

Re:bloody immigrants (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200121)

STOP THE BOTS!

Re:bloody immigrants (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#42200277)

Hahaha, mod AC parent up...good one.

So much for Australia.. (3, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | about 2 years ago | (#42199833)

..as a good spot for a robot prison colony.

Re:So much for Australia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200641)

So in a few years they will have a better life style, quality of life, than where they came from.

Anyway heres a written report in the Sydney morning herald.

  Hooly-Dooly! , tha Yanks made a fucking robot that swam the pacific. The little bugger was completely nackered but our prime meathead was dressed to the 9's in her fruit and veg to g'day the little battler and crack a tinny.
  "Yous went like a dingo on a flat rock to get ere from woop woop. When they got on the blower to tell me I was like turn it up! But they said they were fair dinkem. No pigs bum on that"
  "No time for silly buggers, chuck a u-ee and tell em we are shouting this round" As she chucked her empty tinny on to the little bewdie and it racked off to yank land.

progress for whom? (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#42199889)

Did anyone check that white powder in the ballast?

we (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42200025)

http://phanmemtiger.com ti sao li nh th

They wrote a song about Papa Mau (1)

Kozz (7764) | about 2 years ago | (#42200587)

Of course, there was some other distracting lyrics about another woman named Elvira [youtube.com] , too.

(if you didn't have to see the video to get that joke, you're getting gray like me!)

Re:They wrote a song about Papa Mau (1)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#42200687)

Wow, you are getting gray. :)

I figure if the operator was a youngin' he probably wouldn't get the humor in labeling the speed dial "Giddy-up".

why no mention of the recording on the robot? (1)

lakawak (1032356) | about 2 years ago | (#42200623)

They didn't even mention the message that they found on a recorder in the robot. It said "I have been on a deserted island....the putt breaks to the right....Sweep back and forth, back and forth...I was stranded...This is the way we wash our clothes..." Apparently, it was supposed to say "I have been on a deserted island...with seven castaways of The Minnow. ..They are alive and well and...." but the dopey first mate put a rabbits foot into the robot for luck and it demagnetized the tape!

This is where James Gosling went (5, Informative)

paramour (110003) | about 2 years ago | (#42200803)

James Gosling, of Java, Display Postscript, Gosling Emacs, and other fames is the chief software architect an Liquid Robotics.

Great little piece of technology (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#42200889)

This is another Liquid Robotics [liquidr.com] Wave Glider. It's a simple, clever propulsion idea, which is well-explained on the web site. The only powered mechanical part is a rudder. A GPS provides position, solar panels provide power for the electronics, and an Iridium satellite link provides command and control. It's about the size of a surfboard.

Performance is surprisingly good. Wave gliders have been sent from Hawaii to California, then up to Alaska and back. It can generally stay within 50 meters of the desired track. It's too small and light to hurt anything operating in open ocean. The Coast Guard classifies it as "floating debris", so it doesn't have to show lights.

It's also useful when you simply want to park an instrument package in one location. It's much easier than anchoring a buoy in deep water. They had one in Monterey Bay for months, making small circles to stay in one area.

Re:Great little piece of technology (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#42203059)

Funny enough it's called a "Swimming robot" but all I see is "toy boat with autopilot." A submarine and a steam ship are both swimming robots, too...

Re:Great little piece of technology (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | about 2 years ago | (#42206551)

This system doesn't have a propeller(screw) for propulsion, it is actually more of a swimming motion as its fins(tethered a few meters down) angle up or down as the wave action moves it up and down in the water. This is how it uses basically no power to move about.

Re:Great little piece of technology (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#42206817)

My junk [fbcdn.net] doesn't have any kind of screw either.

Looks ugly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42201237)

What's so special about this robot? It doesn't look human at all, more like some boat propeller.

not fully autonomous then? (1)

queBurro (1499731) | about 2 years ago | (#42202591)

"but one of them has suffered damage and has been diverted to Hawaii for repair" thus it can be remotely controlled?

Re:not fully autonomous then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42202723)

The normal way to do this is to give the autonomous robot a new target. Then, instead of autonomously steering in circles in the Pacific, it autonomously makes its way to Hawaii....

There is a joke somewhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42202945)

I am sure it involves the line "boy are my arms tired!"

just keep swimming (1)

iiii (541004) | about 2 years ago | (#42206025)

Some sources are reporting that the whole way there the robot kept saying "P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney!!"

edit needed as the location is wrong (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#42209087)

It actually landed "east of Lady Elliot Island." http://www.ladyelliot.com.au/ [ladyelliot.com.au] which is north of Hervey bay and offshore from Bundaberg, Here is the link from the Bundaberg paper intervewing Erik Wilson and Graham Hine and showing a photo of the craft. http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/man-reunited-robot-after-year-apart/1631488/ [news-mail.com.au] I can understand why Hervey bay tried to claim the honour because the town inhabitants are jealous of us Bundabergians as our town is so much better than theirs with its perfect climate, proximity to barrier reef islands and relaxed lifestyle. http://ilovebundaberg.com/ [ilovebundaberg.com]
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