Java creator Gosling bails on new Google job to play with boats

Guru who quit Oracle in protest over Java plans will program autonomous robot subs

James Gosling, the founder and one of the primary guides on the development of Java announced on his blog yesterday he was quitting his brand-new job at Google to go work at a company that makes unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV).

"I've surprised myself and made another career change," Gosling wrote in the blog entry announcing the move Tuesday. "I had a great time at Google, met lots of interesting people, but I met some folks outside doing something completely outrageous, and after much anguish decided to leave Google."

The new gig is at Liquid Robotics, which develops low-power, long-range surface and submersible robots designed primarily to collect environmental data in areas inaccessible to manned craft.

Among the innovations setting Liquid Robotics apart is its approach to powering autonomous robots using waves to recharge the batteries that allow it to run, rather than relying solely on the endurance potential of its batteries.

Most other long-range UUVs (or AUV, for autonomous underwater vehicle, or UMV for unmanned maritime vehicle), use a combination of very-low-power propulsion or gliding, slow-speed operation and occasional hibernation to stretch data-gathering missions out as long as six months.

In Liquid Robotics' announcement that it had hired Gosling, (PDF) the maritime robot startup said he would take over as chief software architect just as the company expands beyond development only of maritime robots and tries to expand the data-as-a-service cloud it recently launched to "provide direct, real-time access to ocean information."

The plan is to offer integrated data gathering and distribution services, using the 'bots to track human and environmental events in the water that the DAAS cloud to help research organizations and corporations collect that data and distribute it without having to provision satellite or other long-range connections to individual oceangoing 'bots, the release said.

The data-integration project "involves a large data problem and a large-scale control problem, both of which are fascinating to me and have been passions of mine for years," the release quotes Gosling as saying.

"I'm their new chief software architect," Gosling said in his own voice in the blog. "I'll be involved in both the onboard software - sensing, navigation and autonomy - and in the datacenter, dealing with the in-rush of data. The current systems work well, but they have a variety of issues that I look forward to working on. This is going to be a lot of fun. "

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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