The Seaglider autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) was developed by a large team in the UW School of Oceanography and the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. The Seaglider AUV makes oceanographic measurements traditionally collected by research vessels or moored instruments, but at a fraction of the cost. They fly through the water with extremely modest energy requirements using changes in buoyancy for thrust, coupled with a stable, low-drag, hydrodynamic shape. Seaglider AUVs can also be commanded to alter their sampling strategies throughout a mission from a base station on land.
The technology was initially licensed to iRobot. When iRobot decided to exit the maritime business, CoMotion recaptured the rights, and later licensed them to Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. (KUTI), then a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime. KUTI’s sister company, Hydroid, now a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls, is the current holder of the license. UW CoMotion supported this team, helping them move from idea to impact by working collaboratively with the team to find and vet interested companies, executing the licenses, and adapting over time to the changing needs of UW and our licensee. The Seaglider AUV is used by the Navy, researchers, and the oil and gas industry.