Green Technology Helping Map Marine World
by Ted Lund
Residents of the San Francisco Bay area are among the first to benefit from a new program launched with the help of Google, which is changing the way researchers map shorelines and the global sea level rise. But at first glance, it’s obvious the vessel doing the heavy lifting isn’t just any ordinary boat.
“It’s a Google Boat,” says staff scientist for the San Francisco Baykeeper organization, Ian Wren.
The small, remote-controlled catamaran has a number of unique features, including an adaptive hull design that flexes to provide ultimate stability, while utilizing Google’s proprietary camera system to create “bay-level” maps of the San Francisco area. And, it’s powered by the world’s leader in green propulsion systems, Torqeedo.
The Baykeeper organization plans on using the imagery collected — nearly 500 miles of coastline ranging from San Jose to Antioch, California — on its website and for educational purposes, helping illustrate the threats posed by global sea level change to critical wetlands.
“A lot of people know about sea level rise,” says Sejal Choksi, an environmental lawyer and Baykeeper’s interim director. “We are hoping these images will really bring the reality home to the public, that they will look at pictures of places they know and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be underwater.’”
The imagery is being collected by an innovative camera system developed by Google called the Trekker. Originally designed to be worn by backpackers, it didn’t take long for the cutting-edge internet company to realize the unit had a number of other applications. And thanks to a grant from Google, Baykeeper was able to obtain one of the cameras on loan.
The next step was finding a way to record the imagery with a minimum of manpower. The answer? A 16-foot Wave
Adaptive Modular Vessel (WAM-V) from Marine Advanced Research.
One of the biggest challenges, however, was how to propel the remote-controlled vehicle cleanly and efficiently. For that task, the group turned to leading electric propulsion innovator, Torqeedo.
Baykeeper’s WAM-V is rigged with twin Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 electric outboard motors rigged with four Power 26-104 batteries. Thanks to onboard traditional and solar charging capabilities, the WAM-V is able to run for hours with nearly zero environmental footprint.
The Google Trekker, WAM-V and Torqeedo technology is being applied elsewhere, including in a recent mapping project of American Samoa that can be seen here.
For more information on the San Francisco Baykeeper’s Google Boat project, visit the organization at www.baykeeper.org. To learn more about Torqeedo’s innovative line of green boating power solutions, visit www.torqeedo.com or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Original Source; Sportsmans Lifestyle.com