“Space: the final frontier”. Those were the iconic words spoken by Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise on the popular TV series Star Trek. They were words that mirrored our collective human fascination with the great mysteries of space and the Universe — and continue to do so. Yet there is another frontier right here on Earth that remains as deeply mysterious and unexplored as outer space itself: the oceans.
We are still learning so much about the uncharted territories and unknown depths of the world’s oceans and seas. As our exploration of outer space and its many possibilities continues to feed our imagination, so too increasingly does our exploration of the Earth’s vast expanses of ocean. Like space, our oceans too offer both huge challenges and unfathomable opportunities, especially within the context of marine biodiversity, environmental conservation and protection and sustainability. It is some of those challenges and opportunities that we at uWare are excited to be a part of with our cutting-edge underwater technology .
The Power of Oceans
Simply put, there would be no life on Earth as we know it without the great expanse of oceans that make our planet blue. The sheer importance of the oceans cannot be overstated (and for the purpose of this article, we also include the world’s seas with that term) . Just consider the following:
- 95% of living organisms on Earth are found in the oceans.
- 95% of the world’s oceans and 99% of the ocean floor are yet to be explored.
- In fact, more of the surfaces of the moon and Mars have been mapped than the ocean floors of our own oceans.
- The oceans generate anywhere from 50 to 80% of oxygen on the planet.
- The oceans account the transportation of 80% of global trade by volume and 70% by value.
- Fish are the leading source of protein for the world’s population. It is obvious that the oceans are critically important to this planet’s ecology and sustainability, with tremendous potential for the world’s economy.
The Blue Economy
The so-called ‘Green Economy’ is well-known, predicated as it is on the principles of development and progress that respects the Earth’s limited resources and the sustainable use thereof. The Blue Economy could be considered its marine counterpart. It too seeks the sustainable optimization of resources, in this instance marine resources.
As a macro-economic concept, the Blue Economy incorporates every aspect of economic development, as well as national and global governance and communications between countries and regional blocs. It should incorporate all aspects of marine ecosystems within the context of the economic viability and potential of oceans and coastal zones. Of course, any discourse on the Blue Economy must also include environmental protection and sustainability considerations — without these, the Blue Economy can only falter.
The growth of the Blue Economy as concept and reality has been immense. Various studies, such as those by Wenhai, Cusack, Baker et al. (2019), have noted now the concept of the Blue Economy has grown exponentially in just the past two decades. Important to note is that there is no ‘single’ Blue Economy. Rather, it is the amalgamation of many different types of economies and industries in different countries / regions.
Doing business underwater or out at sea is hugely challenging for any private corporation or government / public entity, to say the least. For all the hype and positivity surrounding the Blue Economy, there are some immensely important ‘qualifiers’ that need to be nevertheless considered. These can include:
- Underwater locations that are often in inhospitable and / or remote environments, and sometimes far out at sea and at great depths.
- The very high cost of maintenance of submarine infrastructures, for example those for energy, aquaculture, telecommunications, and so forth.
- The construction of submarine infrastructures is also very risky, time-consuming and costly.
- There is also often a lack of adapted tools, machinery and experienced personnel for the construction and maintenance of required underwater infrastructures.
- Underwater-based industries can often be negatively impacted by prevailing environmental factors, such as the overexploitation of natural resources, widespread pollution, and the various impacts of global warming and climate change, not to mention severe oceanic climatic conditions.
It is clear from the above that the potential of the Blue Economy is vast, varied, and hugely exciting. So too are its challenges vast and varied, if only because of how ‘alien’ and ‘other-worldly’ the marine environment truly is. As stated, we know less about our oceans than we do about other planets and other parts of the universe.
That is why the exploration and further discovery and understanding of our deep oceans is so necessary for the development of our collective ‘blue resources’ across a range of different industry sectors.
Enter uWare. We are a young high-tech start-up with the dream and passion of developing super-smart robots for the underwater world.
Imagine uWare as Tesla or SpaceX but for the oceans!
Our innovative Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) combine artificial intelligence (AI) with robotics, that allow for the inspection, monitoring and protection of underwater areas in a way that was pure science fiction just a few years ago.
Our AUVs are based on low-cost, cutting-edge autonomous technology that can enable operations that are risk-free and can occur in many types of underwater conditions and locations. Further positive factors of our AUVs include their agility and wireless autonomy.
uWare — Making the Difference
Why are we at uWare so passionate about our autonomous underwater technology? It’s simple, really — because we are only too aware of the threats facing the oceans: pollution, overfishing, acidification, rising temperatures, endangering the ecological sustainability and the very viability of the world’s oceans.
The oceans need to be better respected and protected for now and for the future. We wish to be a part of that overdue (and desperately needed) change.
uWare Robotics further recognizes and respects the importance of the oceans for the future of humanity and this planet and, therefore, the urgent need to find easier, faster and safer ways to intervene in large underwater environments. Essentially, we believe that uOne is key technology needed for more effective and ecologically sustainable management of our oceans, as well as for many different types of ocean-based professional businesses.
Our uOne vehicle has embedded sensors and a super-smart AI engine that allows for accurate collection and processing of data information from the underwater environment. Our smart, autonomous and cost-effective technology enables the more effective management of the oceans and ocean-bound industries and processes.
uWare’s Business Markets
We at uWare know we can make the difference across a host of different clients and industry sectors based on their specific underwater business needs. A few of these specific markets for which uWare’s submarine-focused AI and robotics technology is perfect include:
- Underwater inspections: these can include sectors such as wind farms, the monitoring of telecommunications-related infrastructure and protection of data (for example, the localization of damaged cables) and ship hull inspections, to name a few.
- Ocean viability: The better understanding of oceans, as well as how to better manage and protect them, can be particularly beneficial for the economic growth of developing countries, and, in particular small island developing countries and least developed countries (LLDCs).
- Aquaculture: the control of water quality, nets, fish inventorying and sustainable fishing.
- Leisure activities: uWare’s submarine technology can offer enhanced assistance for scuba divers, including in the rescue and safety thereof, as well as opportunities for dive equipment resellers and dive centres.
A Range of Ecological Benefits
We at uWare know we can also make a huge difference regarding the ecological monitoring and, where possible, improvement of marine ecosystems. These efforts at underwater environmental conservation include:
- Detection and recovery of plastics and other wastes: uWare’s uOne can locate marine pollution (plastic, debris, waste from a shipwreck, etc.), as well as plastics and other run-off from land-based activities and provide the necessary information to remove, clean or process said pollution.
- Environmental guardians / stewards: our underwater technology can be used by a host of different public interest and environmental actors, ranging from local and state governments, to coastal communities, nongovernment organisations (NGOs) and seaside security agencies.
- Marine ecology and coral monitoring and inventorying: The autonomous navigation capabilities of our AUVs will allow the improved monitoring of delicate ocean biodiversity, including endangered or stressed coral reefs or fish species. This will further allow for the better protection and even restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems. This should result in healthier and more sustainably productive oceans.
- Ocean health: uOne facilitates the collection of ocean data that increase capacity to improve the health and viability of oceans. Our cost-effective marine technology allows for overall improved marine biodiversity and sustainability, which is beneficial to the health of the planet itself.
- Scientific marine research: Our AUVs will allow better access to difficult marine locations and the study thereof, which is immensely helpful to marine biologists and archaeologists, for example.
- Water quality monitoring and sample collecting: use of our AUV technology means marine water can be collected and monitored for relevant data, including water pollution levels and biochemical readings, water temperatures (an important factor in global warming/climate change calculations), ocean acidification, mercury levels and other potential impacts on marine ecosystems.
Quite simply, our smart, cost-efficient vehicles will revolutionize ocean related industries, be they in the fields of underwater exploration, energy, telecommunications, shipping or, very importantly, environmental protection.
It’s very simple: To harness the Blue Economy is to know the full potential and sheer scale of the deep blue seas which are our common heritage. uWare’s ultra-smart robotic underwater vehicles will enable just that.