High-Tech Robot Unveils Mysteries of Antarctic Ice

antarctic robot photo

Gavia under the ice at Pavillion Lake. Credit: Donnie Reid, via Discovery News

Gavia is the newest all-star at the University of British Columbia. Nope, not a genius student or doctor doing ground-breaking research -- Gavia is a robot. It's an autonomous underwater vehicle that is helping to shape our understanding of sea ice in the Antarctic, including how it is faring against global climate change. For researchers, getting information about life around and conditions of the frigid waters, but this high-tech robot is helping break the ice, so to speak.
Discovery News reports that Gavia -- and 8x2 foot missile-shaped robot -- can capture limitless data with its mapping sonar, digital camera, meters for currents, temperatures, salinity and so on.

"Gavia can be programmed to go look for certain types of information as soon as it's dropped into the water. Andrew Hamilton, one of the PhD students traveling to Antarctica, told the university that data Gavia collects will provide valuable information from uncharted parts of the ocean to climate modelers. The robot is expected to do its icy solo work through November 12."

The use of underwater vehicles is a huge help for understanding what happens in the ocean's depths. From exploring the "Alabama Alps" in the Gulf of Mexico to collecting information about life in the Arctic ocean to exploring impacts from oil spills, underwater vehicles like Gavia have become invaluable tools for marine biologists and oceanographers.

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