Wave Glider

Waveglider Tiny

View from the deck of autonomous surface vehicle SV3 Tiny (SeeStar timelapse camera image).

The Wave Glider is an autonomous surface vehicle produced by Liquid Robotics and purchased and outfitted with sensors and communications gear by MBARI engineering.   The Wave Glider has a surfboard-like float at the surface and a sub with spring loaded paddles that uses wave energy for motion.   It has solar panels on the float for supplying power to the linux-based computers, science instruments and communications gear.   It has GPS for precise location measurement and weather station along with a collection of antennas for communications.  The SV3 is capable of automatically avoiding ships.  MBARI and Liquid Robotics have had a collaborative supplier-customer relationship since 2010 when Liquid Robotics fielded their engineering development version of the SV2 Wave Glider during the Fall CANON field campaign.   MBARI also has a collaborative relationship with the Jupiter Foundation, the research group that came up with the Wave Glider concept.  MBARI leased a SV2 in 2012 and then purchased and took delivery of the first customer shipment of the new SV3 in January 2014.

Wave Gliders to date have been named for the crew on the historic Ricketts/Steinbeck Western Flyer cruise as a tribute to Mr. Packard who named the MBARI ship Research Vessel Western Flyer.


The Wave Glider is typically launched and recovered from the R/V Paragon.

A captain and two to three crew is typical for easy operations.   A mission plan is filed three weeks in advance notifying the Marine Sanctuary and Coast Guard of planned Wave Glider operations.   MBARI staff or Liquid Robotics will then be on call to monitor the Wave Glider from shore and to intervene in the case of an alarm condition such as a low power event or navigation problem.

Liquid Robotics provides a web-based application, WGMS, which allows waypoints and mission plans to be entered and sent to the Wave Glider.

Typical deployments last 2 to 10 weeks, mostly in Monterey Bay with periodic voyages out to Station M, 170 miles from MBARI.


Paul Coenen

Electro-Mechanical Technician


Solving challenges
Taking the laboratory into the ocean
In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer
Midwater Respirometer System
Mobile flow cytometer
Enabling targeted sampling
Automated Video Event Detection
Gulper autonomous underwater vehicle
Advancing a persistent presence
Aerostat hotspot
Benthic Event Detectors
Benthic rover
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicle Tethys
Marine “soundscape” for passive acoustic monitoring
Monterey Ocean-Bottom Broadband Seismometer
Shark Café camera
Wave Glider-based communications hotspot
Emerging and current tools
Aerostat hotspot
Wave Glider-based communications hotspot
Wet WiFi
Data management
Oceanographic Decision Support System
Spatial Temporal Oceanographic Query System (STOQS) Data
Video Annotation and Reference System
Apex profiling floats
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Environmental Sample Processor (ESP)
How the ESP Works
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ESP Web Portal
The ESP in the news
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Lagrangian sediment traps
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Midwater Respirometer System
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Smart underwater connector
OGC PUCK Reference Design Kit
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Manufacturer ID
Wave-Power Buoy
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Benthic Rover
Gulper autonomous underwater vehicle
Imaging autonomous underwater vehicle
In Situ Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer
Seafloor mapping AUV
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicle Tethys
Mini remotely operated vehicle
ROV Doc Ricketts
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Shark Café camera
Video Annotation and Reference System
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Bringing the laboratory to the ocean
Bringing the ocean to the laboratory
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