PH’s 1st liquid robot sent to Tubbataha
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, Philippines — Scientists from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) deployed the first-ever liquid robot, called “wave glider,” in Tubbataha Reefs National Park on Friday.
The P30-million newly purchased autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) is the pioneer in liquid robotics in the country, according to the MSI.
The wave glider will collect offshore samples to analyze marine temperature, salinity, water quality, current directions and speed, among others.
Caroline Marie Jaraula, assistant professor in MSI’s organic and stable isotope geochemistry laboratory, said that they were excited to test the equipment since that would revolutionize their monitoring.
“We are proud with the result of the successful deployment. When we got the package, the distributor was even worried because it was fastest turn-around time of just two weeks to deployment,” Jaraula said.
She explained that other countries usually check and test the gadget for five months before deploying them.
“The distributor even had to send their Asia-Pacific personnel to make sure that everything is working properly,” Jaraula said.
The wave glider will be operated remotely by scientists at the UP-MSI laboratory in Quezon City.
“Tubbataha is one of the three test sites including Boracay and Bolinao. We chose to do the pilot test here because it is a pristine and remote site—far and difficult to access—these are the problems we want to solve with this type of technology,” Jaraula said.
The pilot test aims to evaluate the hypothesized dual role of ASV for real-time environmental monitoring and maritime surveillance in the park.
“We want to push real-time marine monitoring in the Philippines especially that we are archipelagic. The traditional surveillance and monitoring takes days. The sample gets old before it even gets to the lab,” Jaraula added.
The UP-MSI team is set to return to Tubbataha next April for deployment during the rainy season.
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