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Bluefin Spray Glider: Vehicle of Choice for Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Jul 15, 2008
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Bluefin Robotics, a manufacturer of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), has secured a contract from Horizon Marine an ocean monitoring and forecasting service provider for the offshore oil and gas industry.

Bluefin Robotics, a leading Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) manufacturer, has received a contract for the Bluefin Spray Glider from Horizon Marine, Inc., an ocean monitoring and forecasting service provider.  Located in Marion Massachusetts, Horizon Marine uses state-of-the-art techniques in the analysis of oceanographic data in mapping, modeling, and forecasting significant events for their customers in the oil and gas industry worldwide.

The Spray is a buoyancy-driven autonomous underwater vehicle that collects water column data profiles using a pumped oceanographic–grade Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) sensor.  To drive its motion, the glider manipulates its buoyancy by transferring hydraulic fluid between its pressure hull and flooded payload compartment.  This vertical buoyancy is hydrodynamically converted into forward motion using a pair of wings, providing the vehicle glide along a saw-tooth pattern.  In this manner, the Spray is capable of deployments over periods exceeding 6 months. 

“We view the Spray Glider operations as another improvement to our Eddy Watchsm ocean current monitoring and forecasting services”, said James W. Feeney, President of Horizon Marine, Inc.  “Our suite of equipment for monitoring has to meet the cost effectiveness test for our commercial market.  We chose Bluefin Robotics and the Spray Gliders because they offer long-term, unattended deployments at a reasonable cost; and we enjoy the Bluefin attention to our requirements.  The quality sensors and the ability to range over long distances provide valuable subsurface data used in our forecasting.”

“We are thrilled that Horizon Marine has chosen the Bluefin Spray Glider to join their suite of instrumentation,” remarked David P. Kelly, CEO of Bluefin Robotics.  “It is exciting to see new applications emerge for the platform, especially in the oil and gas sector. Horizon Marine is the perfect outfit to demonstrate that with our vehicle.”

The Spray Glider was originally developed by Scripps Institute of Oceanography and funded by the Office of Naval Research.  Bluefin has had an established production capability for the Spray since it was initially licensed in 2004. Bluefin has successfully manufactured and operated the Bluefin Spray for military, domestic and international oceanographic research customers.  The new Bluefin-Horizon Marine relationship signifies the Spray’s official adoption into the commercial market sector with an ability to address real world commercial needs.

About Bluefin Robotics
Bluefin Robotics manufactures and develops Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) vehicles, systems, and technology.  Founded in 1997, the Company has grown to become a world leader in AUV products designed for military, commercial (oil and gas exploration, sea floor mapping), archaeological, and other applications.  Bluefin Robotics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Battelle Memorial Institute.  For more information visit or contact Deanna Abraham at (617) 715-7080 or at

About Horizon Marine, Inc.
Since 1980’s, Horizon has supported the offshore oil and gas industry in frontier area studies.  The Company provides daily observations, including several remote sensing techniques, enables real-time data analysis, reporting, and forecasting the migration and strength of ocean currents.  For more information visit or call (508) 748-1860.

Deanna Abraham
Bluefin Robotics
P:  617.715.7080

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