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SeaExplorer glider: antenna unfolding before deploymentSeaExplorer glider ready for launchSeaExplorer : undersea glider launchingSeaExplorer : underwater glider immergedSeaExplorer glider divingSeaExplorer glider about to surfaceSeaExplorer glider surfacingSeaExplorer glider navigating back to the surfaceSeaExplorer glider transmittingSeaExplorer glider localized for recoverySeaExplorer glider recovery

SeaExplorer: a high performance glider

The SeaExplorer vehicle moves through the water by varying its buoyancy, resulting in very long endurance and stealthy actuation. It resurfaces regularly to transmit information back to the operator including its positioning, on the ongoing mission, etc…

Its modular design includes an independent payload section located at the front of the vehicle. This section can be changed rapidly between two missions. It features two large compartments: a hyperbaric and a wet section. Sensors include Pumped CTD, Oxygen Optode, Turbidity, Chlorophyll, Backscatter CDOM, Hydrocarbon Fluorescence, Acoustic Detector & Recorder…

The SeaExplorer does not have wings nor external moving parts which facilitates easy launch and recovery operations and reduces the risk of entanglement (plastic debris, seaweed, and so on…). In addition, the absence of any outside moving parts limits any risks of leaks.

Due to its high ballast volume, SeaExplorer speed is 1 knot, twice as fast as competitors.

The design has been green technology oriented. Power is only by rechargeable batteries. As well as avoiding pollution from primary batteries, the Li-Ion solution makes the glider safer as the vehicle does not need to be opened, and more cost-effective by avoiding the need to replace the batteries and re-balance the vehicle for each mission.

A networked hardware and software suite allows constant vehicle supervision and mission control from anywhere in the world via the internet by using a server available 24/7 for vehicles calls.

Endurance is enhanced by optimised standby modes for the navigation system and the payload sensors.

Key features

The SeaExplorer offers outstanding features in shallow water and at depths down to 700m.
Its main characteristics are as follows:

  • Double the speed of its competitors;
  • Months of endurance;
  • Large interchangeable wet & dry payload sections;
  • Dedicated nose cone including four puck ports;
  • Open-source firmware so that scientists can implement custom functionalities;
  • Wingless concept (no wing means no risk of breakage, or entanglement);
  • Rechargeable batteries;
  • Extraordinary manoeuvrability;
  • All internal actuators (leak-safe).


SeaExplorer is an efficient tool to continuously monitor oceans to provide oceanographers, researchers and military users with real-time data in a very cost effective manner.

With appropriate sensors, SeaExplorer is a very efficient platform for: