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Underwater gliders are autonomous buoyancy-driven vehicles (AUVs) that use small changes in its buoyancy in conjunction with wings to convert vertical motion to horizontal, and thereby propel itself forward with very low power consumption. While not as fast as conventional AUVs, gliders using buoyancy-based propulsion represent a significant increase in range and duration compared to vehicles propelled by jets or electric motor-driven propellers, extending ocean sampling missions from hours to months, and to thousands of kilometers of range, providing useful data on temporal and spatial scales unavailable to previous AUVs, and less costly to sample using traditional shipboard techniques.

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