Docking Stations Let Sea Robots Recharge Batteries
Researchers launch a Bluefin robotic vessel while a docking station for the vehicle sits on the deck of the ship. The docking station, developed by the Battelle Memorial Institute, will let unmanned vessels recharge their batteries and exchange data with researchers during missions at sea. (Source: Battelle Memorial Institute)
Yes, this is a good point, Ann and Beth. I am guessing the protective cage that's been built won't be enough in big storm surges, so it's surely something that will be addressed if these are to go into full deployment. At this point the structure likely wouldn't withstand something like Hurricane Sandy.
This makes a lot of sense, but I also have the same question as Beth after the hurricane: what happens to these and other types of underwater operations? What kind of protection or stabilization is engineered into their structures?
It's a real frontier for innovation, certainly, but also a dangerous frontier, especially as witnessed by yesterday's Hurricane Sandy. It got me thinking--what happens to these kind of charging stations in severe weather like yesterday?
Thanks for the story. It's easy to forget that the ocean is still a real frontier for technological innovation. More people have walked on the moon than have been down to the Marianas Trench - the deepest part of the ocean.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
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