Autonomous modular datacenter takes to the sea

Autonomous modular datacenter takes to the sea

Summary: Liquid Robotics deploys a much more advanced version of their record setting robot technology

TOPICS: Data Centers

Not every datacenter is comprised of a large building stuffed full of computers. In the case of Liquid Robotics Wave Glider SV3, the datacenter is an autonomous, self-contained, sea-going vessel that supports the equivalent of a rack of computers. These computers operate banks of sensors that can be used to study all sorts of conditions useable by everything from oil exploration to weather forecasting.

The latest generation of the Wave Glider series of autonomous marine robots is the first to be able to handle more than a pair of computer systems. With expansion capabilities to more than 24 computers and wireless connectivity that can be used to coordinate an entire fleet of these modular computing robots, the possibilities for delivering significant levels of analytical power in otherwise inaccessible conditions and locations has expanded far beyond the capabilities of the previous generation of Liquid Robotics automatons (which themselves set records for time at sea and distance travelled).



The on-board processing power means that these robots are not simply data collection devices, but are also capable of analyzing the data that has been collected and reporting on the results. This is why the company is referring to them as datacenters @sea. CTO Robert Hines, the inventor of the robot, has said that the onboard computing power now possible is equivalent to what was found only in supercomputers from the recent past.

With the connectivity available, these ocean-going platforms, which run the Liquid Robotics Advanced Vehicle Operating System, offer services one would expect in a datacenter, such as multi-tenancy, scalability, and the ability to update software on the fly, without requiring a human in place on the vessel.

Topic: Data Centers

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Neat Idea!

    Although the title suggested web sites putting their servers on the high seas to escape the jurisdiction of national regulations (which might still happen if someone like Wikileaks gets a huge donation), this is a great idea also. Presumably, the robotic datacenters will use satellites to relay compressed results to scientists on land. We definitely need to learn more about the sea.

    Someday (I hope soon) we may put autonomous energy collectors to convert solar, wave/tidal, or thermocline (gradient in temperature with depth) power to electrolyzed hydrogen and oxygen to be collected periodically (by other robots?) and delivered to shore for distribution. The data collected by these machines may pave the way for energy collecting robots in the future.

    Just one thing: if these machines are being used to evade laws of a powerful nation state (who, US?), they may need onboard antimissile defenses, or at least real-time surveillance video transmission to someone who can put the evidence on the global media if attacked. Similarly, they may need some automated defenses to stop terrorist attacks (Saudi Arabia, for one, would not want the price of oil to drop due to alternate energy, and Al Qaeda may take on a "contract" job to both serve their own purposes and make a profit).

    I wish them lots of luck and safe operations!
    • Pirate Datacenters

      enough said