Making a difference in the Gulf of Mexico
In May 2010, the Gulf of Mexico was devastated by a massive oil spill. At iRobot, we sprung into action to try to help in any way we could. Joining forces with the U.S. Navy and a handful of universities to find out what was going on beneath the surface of the water, iRobot launched a Seaglider UUV to monitor the area of the oil spill. Configured with sensors that capture a variety of data, Seaglider monitored the level of dissolved oxygen and the presence of oil at depths up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). iRobot also helped the Navy rapidly integrate additional sensors onto two of the Seaglider UUVs in its fleet for deployment in the Gulf. iRobot employees worked around the clock to support the Seaglider deployments, driven by the desire to make a difference for the Gulf community in a time of need.
Seaglider autonomously performs a wide variety of data-gathering missions for oceanographers, researchers and military planners. A long-range, high endurance UUV, Seaglider is designed for missions that last many months and cover thousands of nautical miles. Seaglider performs physical, chemical and biological oceanography, persistent surveillance, marine environmental monitoring and other missions, sending back data using global satellite telemetry.
Quotes from Prof. Vernon Asper of the University of Southern Mississippi
"The CDOM fluorescence records obtained by the iRobot Seaglider confirm those acquired using similar devices used nearby during research cruises and will serve to help map the distribution of these features.”
"iRobot responded to the spill immediately by preparing and hand delivering a Seaglider to the accident site within a very short time, making it the very first autonomous vehicle of any kind to be used to survey the area for subsurface oil.”
"The iRobot Seaglider approach to studying the distribution of subsurface oil released by the spill is not only one of the most cost-effective approaches, but it also addresses the seriously limited availability of research vessels from which to study these phenomena. Its sensors are recording the CDOM fluorescence, oxygen, optical backscatter and chlorophyll fluorescence values that will help scientists better understand the spill – and this vehicle works day and night in any weather."
For more information about the University of Southern Mississippi's response to the oil spill, visit:
To read more from Prof. Vernon Asper, visit: www.usm.edu/oilspill/blogs.php