Military Embedded Systems

Autonomous underwater vehicle completes 4-plus-year circumnavigation of Atlantic Ocean


July 15, 2020

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo: Teledyne Marine

NORTH FALMOUTH, Mass. Teledyne Marine announced that its "Silbo" Slocum G2 Glider -- an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) manufactured by Teledyne Webb Research -- has completed an over four-year journey during which it circumnavigated the Atlantic Ocean in four legs, a first for an AUV.

Launched in spring 2016 from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Silbo interacted with international science teams from several countries, collected scientific and critical engineering data along the way for a variety of programs, and returned to Cape Cod in late June of 2020, having sustained no damage save that of a scratched hull. The only maintenance that Silbo received during its three stops over four years was an external cleaning and a fresh set of batteries.

During the glider's journey around the Atlantic Ocean, it collected hurricane data, corrected current models, and provided close to 5,000 CTD [conductivity, temperature, and depth] casts that aided metalogical forecasting. Silbo has served as a test bed for many new engineering hardware and software features for both existing and next-generation Slocum gliders, including providing data on new battery configurations, advanced software, and techniques for piloting long-endurance missions and minimizing environmental impact.  

Glider AUVs -- while basic to several major ocean-monitoring programs including the international Argo array and the National Science Foundation Ocean Observatories Initiative, are also part of the U.S. Navy Littoral Battlespace Sensing – Glider (LBS-G) program of record.

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