Technologies with the potential to shake up the maritime industry can come from all angles. I work with marine science technologies that feed our control centers with data from sensors on the seafloor or in the water column.
Marine sciences have to evolve – to keep up with the times and all kinds of situations. Like in 2012 when crocodiles turned up on our dive site! We had to find a way to collect the data without humans and design new instruments to do so.
The suite of tools we developed revolutionized marine monitoring, including ‘know-hows’ for deployment and solutions in the cyclone-prone northwest of Australia. We patented a number of new technologies along the way. You can see the suite of tools at www.diverless.org.
We now have a Driverless SolutionTM for every aspect of marine monitoring. Regardless of a project’s size, complexity or location, we can design an innovative driverless monitoring program that will improve efficiency and reduce Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) risk, and meet legislative requirements at the same time.
Collectively, this approach forms the complete driverless solution for Marine Monitoring, awarded the 2011 APPEA Safety Innovation Award (national winner and industry choice), and the 2011 Golden Gecko for Environmental excellence. Allowing the HSE team to remove divers out of the water to avoid being eaten (the best way to reduce risk is to eliminate it). The scientists wanted to know the data coming in could answer their hypotheses. The project manager didn’t want to shut down the dredge because of environmental concerns.
Our solutions allow marine monitoring to change from being a lagging indicator to a practical real-time tool to optimize dredging and other marine works, stopping adverse environmental impacts before they occur. As an example we were doing coral health surveys (using the unmanned subsea surveyor) every night at the turn of the tide, so the visibility was perfect and the ambient light was the same. Such a real-time understanding of coral heath stress would have been impossible using traditional methods.
Not only did we increase data capture but the quality of that data far exceeded what divers could collect. Scientists could actively manage any impacting process – in this particular case, it was dredging in an ‘A’ class reserve.
We had a dredge control center purely for the environment, with more than 100 sites live streaming data: from water quality to net sedimentation and coral health. By understanding these stressors on the biota in real-time, we could predict the subsequent tolerances and actively manage the dredge.
Our technologies had broader applications. We began working in Singapore, which was undertaking massive dredging campaigns with mandates from the Hague limiting the amount of turbid water that could cross over to Malaysia.
We had teams in Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia running the control center. All this was done automatically through our platform – together with complicated modeling, cloud computing and validation program. We were able to deliver daily reports within 24 hours to proactively manage the results from the dredge-related impacts while helping to save about50 percent in costs compared to with other tender prices.
This ambitious and innovative monitoring program helps overcome the ‘ocean information challenge’ and gives users the power to protect environmental quality objectives before adverse impacts can occur. Our solutions give governments the data to respond quickly to incidents, enables marine contractors to have more control over their construction process, and provides academics, NGOs, the media and the public with a wealth of information.
After the Singapore work, we went to New Zealand where they had two failed applications for subsea mining (effectively permanent dredging operations). By managing the spill budget live with ambient metocean conditions the subsea miners could maximize production, in line with their commercial estimates.
As was the case between 2012 and 2018, more advances in driverless technologies will come about. There will, however, be some curveballs that will change the nature of marine science and impact assessment. Greater levels of automation and digitalization of processes will positively influence daily operations. The top 6 technologies that could, or should, bring positive effects and operational benefits to companies involved in monitoring the marine environment include the unmanned subsea surveyor, sediment scanner, water quality systems, drones/kites, unmanned surface vessels, and ADCPs.
See More: Top Marine Tech Solution Companies