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Bluefin Spray Glider: Vehicle of choice for ocean monitoring and forecasting

Posted on 30.07.2008 - 08:00 EDT in AUV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Bluefin Spray Glider: Vehicle of choice for ocean monitoring and forecastingBluefin Robotics, a leading Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) manufacturer, has received a contract for the Bluefin Spray Glider from Horizon Marine, Inc., an ocean monitoring and forecasting service provider. Located in Marion Massachusetts, Horizon Marine uses state-of-the-art techniques in the analysis of oceanographic data in mapping, modeling, and forecasting significant events for their customers in the oil and gas industry worldwide.

The Spray is a buoyancy-driven autonomous underwater vehicle that collects water column data profiles using a pumped oceanographic-grade Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) sensor. To drive its motion, the glider manipulates its buoyancy by transferring hydraulic fluid between its pressure hull and flooded payload compartment. This vertical buoyancy is hydrodynamically converted into forward motion using a pair of wings, providing the vehicle glide along a saw-tooth pattern. In this manner, the Spray is capable of deployments over periods exceeding 6 months.

Bluefin Spray glider
Bluefin Spray glider

"We view the Spray Glider operations as another improvement to our Eddy Watchsm ocean current monitoring and forecasting services", said James W. Feeney, President of Horizon Marine, Inc. "Our suite of equipment for monitoring has to meet the cost effectiveness test for our commercial market. We chose Bluefin Robotics and the Spray Gliders because they offer long-term, unattended deployments at a reasonable cost; and we enjoy the Bluefin attention to our requirements. The quality sensors and the ability to range over long distances provide valuable subsurface data used in our forecasting."

"We are thrilled that Horizon Marine has chosen the Bluefin Spray Glider to join their suite of instrumentation," remarked David P. Kelly, CEO of Bluefin Robotics. "It is exciting to see new applications emerge for the platform, especially in the oil and gas sector. Horizon Marine is the perfect outfit to demonstrate that with our vehicle."

The Spray Glider was originally developed by Scripps Institute of Oceanography and funded by the Office of Naval Research. Bluefin has had an established production capability for the Spray since it was initially licensed in 2004. Bluefin has successfully manufactured and operated the Bluefin Spray for military, domestic and international oceanographic research customers. The new Bluefin-Horizon Marine relationship signifies the Spray's official adoption into the commercial market sector with an ability to address real world commercial needs.

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