Silicon Valley robots are helping researchers monitor the effects of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano by going into the danger zone, where mankind cannot.
Robots are getting in the water, within 300 meters of the lava plum, where the temperatures are above 120 degrees, a kind of research that can save lives.
"It gets all the energy from the natural environment," said Liquid Robotics' Chief Technology Officer Roger Hine.
Wave Gliders, autonomous robots made by Sunnyvale’s Liquid Robotics, cruise the waters near Kilauea Volcano into and under zones humans can’t go into, "to get some information about this plume, which is going out into the ocean with scalding hot water, dangerous to take a boat, and also killing fish," Hine said.
As the data on water temperature and oxygen levels come in, liquid robotics collect it, then shares it with researchers in Hawaii and MIT, tracking the dangers and patterns of the volcano, without putting anyone at risk.
"There’s so much going on over there that we landlubbers don't think about, but it's of profound importance," Hine said.
Liquid Robotics has an office in Hawaii and they plan to keep the Wave Gliders near the plume for a while because they’re learning so much about the volcano itself, and how nature is responding to it.