The $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is a global competition challenging teams to advance deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration.
The success of this prize will allow us to fully explore and map the ocean floor, and uncover our planet’s greatest wonder and resource for the benefit of humanity. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) $1 million bonus prize will incentivize teams to develop technologies to detect the source of chemical and biological signals underwater.
Here is an interview with Dr. Jyotika Virmani who is a senior director for energy and environment at the XPRIZE Foundation and leads the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.
What is the ultimate challenge in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE?
The ultimate challenge is that we do not yet have a map of our own planet. We have better maps of the surface of Moon and Mars than we do of Earth. The technologies that come out of this XPRIZE will give us the ability to finally discover this planet by allowing us to fully map our ocean floor and find out what is down there, under the sea.
How important is robotics in this overall challenge?
Underwater robotics is a core element of this XPRIZE. We are challenging teams to develop deep-sea autonomous underwater robots that will have to perform a series of tasks. These tasks include being able to quickly map the sea-floor at a high resolution, take high-definition images of biological, geological or archeological features, and autonomously find the underwater source of a biological or chemical signal.
How has response been thus far in this entry phase?
The response has been phenomenal and global. Brilliant and innovative teams from over 15 countries have already signed up to compete.
Do you see any trends in the types of teams that are interested so far in entering the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE? What does this say about overall innovation?
We are seeing a wide range of teams entering – students, experts, and enthusiasts. Innovations in robotics, drones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, sensor technologies, and material sciences has been changing at a remarkable and exponential rate recently. For example, in the past 12 months, we have seen new drones that can now operate in both air and water. We expect to see some of these recent technological advances in this XPRIZE.
|Author:||Jyotika I. Virmani|