Elevator Pitch

Startups

Vol. 15 // 2020

Images courtesy of Open Ocean Robotics

We ask an up-and-coming venture to sell us on its vision.

Company: Open Ocean Robotics

Home Base: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA

Founded: 2018

Founders: JULIE ANGUS, COLIN ANGUS

THE PROBLEM

Getting ocean data is tough – it’s a dangerous, challenging and costly environment to operate in, yet a $2.5 trillion industry depends on it.

THE SOLUTION

Open Ocean Robotics uses solar powered drone boats to collect, analyze and send back data in real time.

SPACE

Blue economy, the economic uses of ocean and coastal resources in a sustainable way.

THE UPSIDE

Sending a ship to sea is costly. It requires experienced crew and isn’t always possible. This really hinders the ability of ocean industries to operate, governments to protect their coastlines and researchers to understand our oceans. Our drones can go out and collect that essential data safely, affordably and in many cases better than a crewed vessel.

THE RISK

Like other new and disruptive technologies, we are changing the way things are done and regulations governing autonomous boats have not kept up. This means that there is uncertainty as to how we obtain permissions to operate in various countries and in some cases, we need to work with regulators to help inform policy that will allow this industry to flourish while ensuring not only safe, but safer operations at sea.

THE PITCH

Open Ocean Robotics makes it cheaper, easier and safer to understand our oceans using our proprietary solar powered self-driving boats that travel our oceans for months at a time collecting ocean data. We help ocean researchers, offshore industries, and governments operate more effectively and safely, providing solutions for hydrographic surveying, defence & security and environmental monitoring.

Images courtesy of Open Ocean Robotics

THE USE CASE

Currently we are working on a project to detect and stop illegal fishing in marine protected areas. Although critical waters are increasingly being protected with this designation, there is often little or no enforcement due to the challenges of patrolling large and often remote areas. Our drones, equipped with a suite of sensors including radar, thermal camera, high definition daytime cameras, AIS receiver and a hydrophone, will be able patrol to these areas for months at a time seeking out illegal activities and reporting them as well as collecting evidence that can be used for prosecution.

THE FUNDING

Open Ocean Robotics raised its first round in 2020, and funded much of its research and development by leveraging grants and competition awards.

THE FUN FACT

The company was founded by two people who love exploring the ocean in small boats and spent five months rowing.

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