AbstractThe concept of underwater gliders emerged from the work of Douglas Webb in 1986. His scientist colleague Henry Stommel anticipated their development and their use. He wrote an impressive “science fiction” article which was published in Oceanography (Stommel, 1989). In look-ing back on Stommel’s article anticipating autonomous gliders, we can now marvel at how much of what followed he had predicted. In the 1990 s, while gliders were being developed and successfully passing first tests, their potential use for ocean research started to be discussed in international conferences because they could help us improve the cost-effectiveness, sampling, and distribution of the ocean observations (see OceanObs’99 Conference Statement – UNESCO). After the prototype phase, three different operational gliders (Figure 1) were present-ed by their designers in Davis et al. (2002) and applications to ocean research were highlighted in Rudnick et al. (2004). Later on, one could only witness the growing glider activity throughout the world.