Owned by Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, Waldo, an autonomous underwater vehicle, had been patrolling the waters off Southwest Florida for five days looking for signs of red tide and sending signals to satellites every two hours between August 26 and 31. However, Mote staff lost track of the robot when it suddenly stopped sending signal.
Mote sent out a press release detailing just how important Waldo was and asked for help locating the device. They even offered a $500 no-questions-asked reward for its return. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like anyone will be collecting that reward as Waldo was able to inform Mote scientists of its location all by itself. Mote yesterday announced that the previously quiet robot had once again begun to transmit its position.
Mote staff didn't waste a minute before hopping in a boat and recovering the robot, called an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV for short. "We're thrilled to have Waldo back," said Dr. Gary Kirkpatrick, inventor of the payload the AUV carried to detect red tide. "It's our only AUV currently patrolling for red tide, and it's crucial for studying algae blooms."
Now that the $130,000 AUV has been found and picked up by the folks at Mote, the question on everyone's mind is, where the heck was Waldo? Um, about 50 feet from where they lost it. No joke.