Usually, when somebody sets out to break a world record, it comes down to ego, glory and the promise of wealth. Robots have no sense of ego — yet — and so the world record that just tumbled was broken in the name of science. I wonder if it's too late to sneak them onto the Aussie Olympics swimming team? We wrote about the PacX Wave Gliders when they first set off, and they've just broken the world record for distance by an unmanned wave powered vehicle. Which makes me wonder — is there a point where it stops being a robot and becomes a vehicle? Anyway, four robot vehicles made the trek from San Francisco to Hawaii in just under four months; a total distance of 3200 nautical miles, well over the previous 2,500 nautical mile record.
The plan is for the robots to assess some of the least approachable parts of the ocean to collect water data including salinity, water temperature, wave characteristics, weather, water fluorescence and dissolved oxygen. [Liquid Robotics via BBC]