$7M Ocean Discovery XPRIZE Announces Semifinalists

Nineteen semifinalists will undergo the first round of judging in the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a $7 million competition geared toward deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration and mapping of the ocean floor.

The 19 semifinalist teams are working on projects including: “hybrid systems that mobilize gliders and drones, underwater robotic swarms, autonomous underwater vehicles, robotics, artificial intelligence and massive computing platforms.” As part of the competition, “these robots and vehicles use artificial intelligence to navigate and explore, gathering underwater data for retrieval following each mission.”

Teams will compete in two rounds of testing, and their projects must launch from shore or air with restricted human intervention. Their entries will have limited number of hours to explore the competition area at depths of 2,000 and 4,000 m to produce a high-resolution bathymetric map, images of a specified object and identification of archaeological, biological or geological features. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) $1 million bonus prize is an additional incentive to develop technologies to detect the source of chemical and biological signals underwater.

The Ocean Initiative also includes the Big Button Ocean Challenge, a $100,000 competition to develop mobile apps that make use of large ocean datasets and translate ocean data into actionable information in order to engage the numbers of actors needed to address critical ocean challenges.

Learn More: Ocean Discovery XPRIZE


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