Todd Kleperis, Liquid Robotics Wave Glider® Marine Robot

Todd Kleperis, Liquid Robotics Wave Glider® Marine Robot


Hello, we’re here today to talk to Todd, who
represents Liquid Robotics from Sunnyvale, California. Welcome to Wellington and to New Zealand Todd. Thank you very very much. How was your trip, what have you been doing here? Well this morning was excellent, we had good group of people who are interested in how robots might be able to help New Zealand of the coast line, we’ve stated discussions with a couple different
groups here, talking to all different industries that are important to New Zealand’s coast.
That will probably be fisheries too, wouldn’t it? Yeah, fisheries, meteorological data,
even fiber optic cables, surveillance of marine protected areas, lot of different things.
And what is the machine that you work with, the robot, what does it exactly do? So we’ve
created a wave powered device. It’s a basically a robot that uses wave power to fuel it all
around the world, so it doesn’t require any additional fuel source to power it to
go worldwide. So it can cover New Zealand, it can cover the southern sea, we were talking to somebody about Antarctic exploration for ice, it could do missions year round, 24 hours a day. Is there equipment on this robot that’s sending out signals to a monitoring base or
anything? Yes, so there’s a host of changeable sensors, so there’s not just one sensor
package, it can host everything from systemic data to tsunami warning information to meteorological data. So the sensors can be changed, we are more of a mobile data network, if that helps.
And how many of these robots are around the world? We have hundreds deployed now. We have done over 3 hundred thousand nautical miles of the earth; we actually have the world record
for the most days traveled for an autonomous robot. Wonderful, and are there any close
to New Zealand? We have some in Australia that are right off the coast of Australia
now; we’ve been deployed worldwide and so everywhere from Japan to Korea to Malaysia,
now currently use units as well. They sound quite expensive, are they something we can
all afford? so they are very very expensive, but they do a job that typically, we just
learned today that a ship in New Zealand may cost upwards of 10 to 30 thousand dollars
a day in fuel costs and our Wave Gliders don’t cost anything for fuel, so that’s
one, and typically their less than a million US dollars but the range is quite high, depending
on how many sensors are on them. So if there’s only one sensor it may cost a whole heck of
a lot less. And where was the technology developed? How did it happen? It was developed of the
coast of Hawaii for a guy by the name of Joe Rizzi who wanted to listen to whale song;
he wanted actually to listen to whales in his living room so that he could hear the
whales. Then that kind of formed an idea in his head which says we can use this for a
lot of scientific data, what other industries would be interested in something that is silent
and doesn’t require any fuel. And where is he now? Is he still part of the company?
Yeah, he’s on our board, he’s an active member of the company. Joe had founded a number
of different companies in the United States and then he has a research center that he
works, Jupiter networks that does research for various industries and he’s still actively involved.
And when you make a wave glider robot, is that made in Sunnyvale California? Yes it’s
made in Sunnyvale California. 100%? 100%. And what sort of components are a part of
it? Is it a big machine, would we recognize it if we walked out the door? I Hope so, it’s
about the size of a surf board, so it’s got a 2 part system; the lower part uses the
wave motion, the top part uses solar, so it can actually communicate from satellite or
cellular phone. They are very simple to deploy, so there about the size of a typical surf
board, maybe you’d call it a long board I think. Well New Zealand has an enormous
coast line and a lot of different areas around it that New Zealand tries to help, other Islands
that New Zealand tries to help that may need marine protected area research or maybe algae
blooms, or acidity in the water, turbidity or sediment levels that change because of
exploration or surveying. So there’s a lot of different applications for New Zealand
because New Zealand is an ocean bound country and it has a very unique opportunities because
they are easy to deploy, and robots work as I said all year long, and don’t need a vacation.
I imagine a lot of countries are making sure that their fish stocks are kept maintained
and monitored do we lose a lot of fish around the world? So on average, most countries worldwide
will say there is between 10 billion and 25 billion loss because of illegal fishing. So
even though New Zealand has its own fishing area, the EEZ, which was just expanded in
New Zealand, is at threat from multiple countries that may come down here and fish and not tell
anybody about it. So there’s a big need there. We have a lot of forestry in New Zealand,
could you use this in forestry? So transportation in the forestry goods probably out of the
country happens on shipping companies and shipping companies care an awful lot about
their fuel. Every shipping company in the world could use these as a way to get weather
information in front of the ship, to save on fuel cost and to save on like maybe even
a bad route. So the logging industry uses inadvertently in a different way, but I don’t
think we could transport logs on the wave glider just yet. And what about the Oil and
Gas, because that’s something we are pushing at the moment? Oil and gas, if there was an
oil spill anywhere we are able to detect oil spills from platforms themselves or if their
drilling and the applications for oil and gas are pretty big, so they have a lot of
research they do on the ocean and we can help with about 95% of that exploration. You may
have heard that we have earthquakes in New Zealand’s, so tsunamis are very possible
too. So could you use this machine for a tsunami? We are currently using the device in multiple
phases for tsunami detection and for preventative measures that you might be able to look at
weather patterns or things that are changing to predict and add more value to your tsunami
warning systems including the existing dart system which is used would wide. Do you think
a country like New Zealand is moving towards robots more and more? Yeah, I think so. I
think because there is such a large swath of ocean that needs to be covered, you know, UAV for the aerial and then something like the LIquid Robotics Wave Glider for the ocean just makes an awful lot of sense. It’s very difficult to deploy ships that cost upwards of 10’s
of 20 thousands of dollars a day because of fuel cost when you can put a robot out there that doesn’t
cost anything for fuel. And you don’t have to pay it. No you don’t have to pay the
robot. Or feed it. Nor feed it. Well thank you Todd, what else do you plan to do in New
Zealand, have you got other plans? Yes, I need to go and find something’s that I was
instructed by my wife to bring back because I can’t find them anywhere else by New Zealand.
Can you tell us one or two things? Some of the things I’m not supposed to bring on
an airplane so I won’t talk about those, but the other things is there is an incredible
burn cream that New Zealand has that I’ve used and have bought bottles of it last time
I was here and actually believe it or not there’s a gel that you have here specifically
can’t find anywhere for canker sores which is a New Zealand based product which is excellent.
Excellent, good to hear that. I love New Zealand. Thank you very much.

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