So far, we’ve won $ 39 million in Round B to grow our ocean surveillance autonomous buoy network – TechCrunch

The ocean is vast and mysterious … but not so much if you have thousands of small autonomous buoys that report interesting information every day.That is exactly The sea so far Has raised $ 39 million to expand its vision of understanding the seven oceans in real time.

The company operates a so-called “marine intelligence platform”. This is basically a real-time map of various important ocean indicators such as ocean currents, temperature and weather. Some of this information can be easily obtained at any time from large networks of satellites and transport vessels on the water, but the particle size and ground truth gained from thousands of enthusiastic observers riding the waves. The type of is very clear.

If you have data 15 minutes ago, rather than yesterday’s measurements or estimates from passing satellites, you can make more informed decisions about routes, weather forecasts (even on land), and more. Of course, there are countless scientific applications. Of such a large amount of data.

So far, there are thousands of unspecified “spotters”.

“Given the size of the ocean, this number may still feel small,” said CEO Tim Janssen, but it’s more than others have achieved, and it’s still not enough. “We already cover all five oceans, but now we’re kicking it into more advanced gear to improve the density of this distributed platform and achieve the most powerful sensing capabilities possible. Therefore, we plan to rapidly add more sensors in the next few years to expand the data we collect and gain more accurate marine insights. “

Sofar and DARPA recently announced A hardware standard called Bristlemouth It is intended to serve as a reference design for those who design their own ocean-going data collection devices. The idea is to make underwater autonomous beings interoperable as much as possible to avoid the hassle of duplicate but incompatible networks.

Perhaps the challenge from running a network of thousands of barnacle-studded, fish-bitten, and weather-struck Robobui is what you might expect. According to Janssen, spotters require “minimal maintenance” and are designed to survive long periods in the open ocean. “Recently, there were spotters covered in ice due to harsh weather conditions, and when the ice melted a few months later, data sharing was automatically resumed,” he recalled. If launched to the shore, they help the finder put it back where it is needed.

The device reports via the Iridium satellite network rather than manual data offloading or mesh networking (which is optional). However, Janssen said the company “is beginning to devote itself to some of the latest technologies, such as swarms, which are revolutionizing satellites.” Communication space. (Swarm is a low-bandwidth satellite communications network, as it has been around since the early days. Focuses on IoT type applications Not the consumer internet. SpaceX is getting them.. )

Sofar’s interface for displaying ocean currents and other ocean conditions. Image credit: these days

The $ 39 million round was led by Union Square Ventures and Foundry Group.In a press releaseMore data is clearly needed for both current businesses like shipping and future jobs like climate change research.

“What we are seeing now, especially in light of COP26, is that governments around the world are coordinating and planning for more threatening ecosystems such as hurricanes, storms, sea level rise and coral reefs. The climate change debate is finally at the center of the story, explains Janssen. “The clarity we can provide regarding these changing weather patterns, sea currents and temperatures, and sensitive marine ecosystems. It’s not just a victory for us and our partners. It’s a real victory for each individual on this planet as we all work together to defeat the ticking clock. “

Of course, the government is wondering what to do, but transportation and supply chain management companies are hoping for better routing to minimize fuel usage and improve overall logistics, in Sofar’s data. I am willing to pay.

“With access to real-time data, we can reduce uncertainty in all these industries, increase efficiency, improve business decisions, and even save fuel and reduce emissions. Everything helps to establish a more sustainable and prepared planet, “says Janssen. .. So far, we’ve won $ 39 million in Round B to grow our ocean surveillance autonomous buoy network – TechCrunch

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