This past Friday, March 5, 2010, the AUV ABE was lost during a dive off the coast of Chile. Here is the formal WHOI obituary, I mean announcement, and here is an nice exert highlighting some of ABE's many accomplishments during his life:
Built as a prototype, ABE quickly became a workhorse. It was the first autonomous robot to make detailed maps of mid-ocean ridges, the 40,000-mile undersea volcanic mountain chain at the boundaries of Earth’s tectonic plates where new seafloor crust is created. It was also the first AUV to locate hydrothermal vents, where hot chemical-rich fluids spew from the seafloor and sustain lush communities of deep-sea life. ABE explored seamounts, undersea volcanoes, and other areas with harsh, rugged terrain. In addition to researchers and students from the United States, ABE advanced research for scientists and engineers from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Italy, Ecuador, and most recently Chile.