iRobot's Gulf of Mexico Response Effort
On May 21, iRobot launched an iRobot Seaglider to monitor the area just a few miles away from the Gulf oil spill. The Seaglider is configured with sensors that report a wide variety of data, including the level of dissolved oxygen in the water and the presence of oil all the way down to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). They also helped the U.S. Navy with the rapid integration of additional sensors on two of the Seagliders in their fleet, which are also capturing and monitoring samples far below the water's surface in the Gulf of Mexico now.
Click here to see Seaglider positions and data that has been collected
A Message from Prof. Vernon Asper, iRobot's Partner at 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 them 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. It's 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 on University of Southern Mississippi's response to the oil spill, please visit http://www.usm.edu/oilspill/
A Message from Chairman and CEO Colin Angle
"When you see the devastation in the Gulf every night on the news and every morning in the paper, you want to reach out and help. At iRobot, we feel strongly that we are doing just that. Right now, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy and a handful of universities, we have three Seagliders in the Gulf helping researchers find out what is going on beneath the water's surface. We understand that risk and cost is always an issue - iRobot's Seaglider is a flexible, state-of-the-art technology that can autonomously monitor the Gulf waters night and day for up to 10 months on a single battery charge, traveling thousands of miles and transmitting valuable data back every few hours. This is going to become even more important as the hurricane season approaches, increasing the dangers facing researchers on open waters. I take extreme pride in knowing that iRobot employees are working around the clock to support Seaglider deployments in the Gulf, motivated by the desire to make a difference during this tragedy and help the Gulf community in any way we can."