frequently asked questions 

The Glider

Q. What is SeaGlide?

A. SeaGlide is a mini underwater glider that changes buoyance and pitch.  It has no propeller, but rather flies through the water using wing thrust as it dives and rises. 

Q. How is it different from SeaPerch?

A. It’s an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) without a control cable.  It has a programmable Arduino microprocessor that controls the vehicle’s buoyancy and pitch.  In advance models, the Arduino has also been used to receive data from temperature and pressure sensors as well as an encoder.

The SeaGlide "buoyancy engine" is made up of a syringe, whose plunger is actuated by a servo to take in and expel water.

The SeaGlide "buoyancy engine" is made up of a syringe, whose plunger is actuated by a servo to take in and expel water.

Q. How does SeaGlide go forward?

A. SeaGlide moves forward in a dive by taking in water and moving a weight forward using its buoyancy engine (see image).  This change in buoyancy and pitch causes it to sink and tilt down in the water.  As the glider travels down, its wings generate lift, which propels it forward.  For the rise cycle, the glider expels water, pitches up and flies forward towards the surface.

Q. How fast can it go?

A. We’ve measure it going one meter per second.  In a steep dive, it could probably go faster.

Q. Is the hull really a water bottle?

A. Yes, an off-the-shelf sports water bottle that was found to be waterproof.


The SeaGlide Program

Q. What grade level is SeaGlide designed for?

A. SeaGlide is intended for High School and above, although with assistance and prior experience with SeaPerch, middle school students have had success building kits.

Q. How can I use my glider after I've built it?

A. Your finished glider is an open platform ready for any modification you would like to make. You can build your glider up to prepare it for the competition, use it as a robotics learning tool, or for data collection and analysis. Add sensors to measure ocean pressure and temperature, add a compass and controllable rudder to enable your glider to fly in a pattern - or add whatever you can think up!

Q. What is the competition?

A. The first regional competition was held in Philadelphia this year (2018).  It involved three elements: A white paper, video commercial & presentation, and multi-tiered performance competition.  See SeaGlide Resources and Kickoff Presentation for more information. We are working on starting more regional competitions around the country. Keep an eye out on Robonation's website and the SeaGlide forum.

Q. How does SeaGlide fit into RoboNation’s robotic challenges?

A. SeaGlide is an advanced project that is designed to build on the skills learned during SeaPerch (though SeaPerch is by no means a prerequisite). SeaGlide introduces you to more advanced autonomous systems such as those found in RoboNation's collegiate competitions.


Need more help?

Q. What if I have technical questions?

A. For technical questions, visit the SeaGlide Forum at The forum is a great resource for getting your questions answers and seeing what questions others have asked. 

Q. What if I have a question about the kit?

A. If you have a question or there is a problem with you SeaGlide kit, please contact Robonation at