Keith Van Thiel (foreground) and Troy Swanson recover SG008 during testing in Port Susan.

Seaglider is a buoyancy driven autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed by scientists and engineers at the University of Washington's School of Oceanography and Applied Physics Laboratory. After eight years of development Seaglider is now entering wider use in scientific deployments. As of March 2005 Seagliders have successfully completed 5-6 month missions off Washington Coast (Eriksen and Lee), Gulf of Alaska (Lee and Eriksen), Labrador Sea (Eriksen and Rhines), North Pacific (Howe and Mercer), and Hawaii (Eriksen and Emerson).

From September 2003 (start of first complete mission) to March 2005, the program had accumulated 1650 glider-days and covered 25000 km of survey track. In an intensive operational period, late August to early October 2004, two groups working together fielded 7 vehicles in 3 colors, spanning 180 degrees of longitude in two oceans.

Jim Mercer and Jason Gobat recover SG023 off Kauai, Hawaii after a successful 191 day mission.

Five of those vehicles completed 5+ month missions, four of them successively breaking AUV endurance records. Another vehicle operated in Kuroshio as part of a short-term Navy exercise. The current world (as far as we know) AUV endurance record is 663 dives over 217 days and 3970 km over ground, held by SG014 in Labrador Sea.

Keith Van Thiel and Craig Lee check conditions from the deck of the RV Knorr before launching SG014 in Davis Strait, September 2004.

Here in the Integrative Observational Platforms (IOP) group we are building and deploying gliders for deployments in the Gulf of Alaska and Davis Strait, between Baffin Island and Greenland. The latter deployments require the development of RAFOS acoustic navigation for operation under ice. IOP scientists and engineers are also active in Seaglider development for hardening, technology transfer, endurance extension, and electronics and sensor upgrades.

The most recent summary presentation about Seaglider capabilities and achievements is here. A growing catalog of older presentations is also available. Information about ongoing glider deployments can be found at the School of Oceanography's GINA and on IOP's own display and operations site. Technical information about Seaglider is available from the APL Seaglider page or from the Seaglider Fabrication Center now operating within the School of Oceanography. We also have a gallery of photographs of Seaglider and Seaglider operations and collected links from press and outside media.