Changing economics of marine environmental monitoring

The growth of unmanned systems and sensors is leading to new economics of marine environmental monitoring.  

This is according to Liquid Robotics, a Boeing subsidiary, in a white paper published online.

The New Economics of Marine Environmental Monitoring paper examines how transformative technologies are leading to the development of more cost-effective approaches to assess the health of the ocean ecosystem and the impact of commercial activities.

According to the company, the ocean economy will reach $3 trillion by 2030.  Unlocking perceived constraints on ocean ecosystem monitoring is vital to accelerate sustainable economic development.

One of the most difficult challenges in monitoring is the remote location.  Getting further from shore means greater cost and greater risk.  Millions of dollars may be spent just on getting scientists or buoys to offshore projects. Research vessels can cost over US $20,000 a day just to operate and although they can provide snapshots of data, they are not suitable for long-term continuous real-time data, according to Liquid Robotics.

Now autonomous systems and sensors are increasingly being used in the ocean environment. Liquid Robotics calls this the Digital Ocean, where billions of sensors connecting the seafloor, surface, and space, make persistent, real-time access to ocean data a reality.

According to Liquid Robotics, transformative technologies are enabling automated tasks to be carried out, which reduces the cost of data collection. There is now access to the same kind of information and control capabilities that have been seen on land.

Liquid Robotics’ Wave Glider platform is one of these technologies that monitors and coordinates activities across platforms.  It operates autonomously in all ocean conditions and provides real-time access to data. Such technologies that provide precise navigation and include built-in collision avoidance technology enhances the safety of autonomous operations.

This digital ocean concept is expected to cost-effectively monitor and mitigate the environmental impacts of commercial activities throughout their lifecycle.

The white paper can be downloaded here.


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