Have You Seen This Robot?

A marine lab sent out a plea today for the return of their autonomous underwater vehicle

The Mote Marine Laboratory sent out a plea today for the return of their autonomous underwater vehicle.

"Mote scientists spent Thursday using side-scan sonar in an effort to find a scientific robot that has been missing since Monday, July 31, 2009," the e-mail stated. "Now we're seeking the public's help for the safe return of the robot."

The robot in question is a little over six feet long, 115 pounds, yellow, and answers to the name "Waldo."

It was last heard from on August 31, patrolling the waters off Southwest Florida looking for signs of red tide - a very important job -- and gliding up and down and forward through the water, sending signals to satellites when it surfaced.

"It just stopped sending a signal," said Mote scientist Dr. Gary Kirkpatrick. "There are a few possibilities that we think are likely: It could have had a major leak or malfunction and sank to the bottom and is just sitting there. Or, it could have had a malfunction with its computer or its communication system and is floating on the surface but unable to tell us that it's there.

"We're hoping that if anyone has seen Waldo, they will call and let us know so we can pick it up," Kirkpatrick said.

A $500, "No-Questions-Asked" reward is being offered for the return of Waldo so it can be re-united with its AUV siblings, Carmen and Nemo.

If you have any information, please call 941-388-4441, x 271.


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