NOAA, Ocean Infinity Form Research Partnership
US-based subsea technology and data company Ocean Infinity said it will partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office to develop new tools for ultra-high-resolution ocean exploration and mapping.
The four-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between Ocean Infinity and NOAA's Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) will aim to expand deepwater autonomous technologies that will help advance the transmission of ocean information and develop new data-collection and processing methods to increase the value and relevance of deep-ocean data. A key focus, NOAA said, will be advancing telepresence or the transmission of ocean video and information in real-time to public and academic audiences.
This collaboration will use Ocean Infinity’s technology to gather information that will enhance understanding of U.S. deep waters and seafloor, part of NOAA’s commitment to mapping the remaining subsea territory by 2030.
According to NOAA, only 43% of the 3.4 million square nautical miles of U.S. territory underwater is mapped to modern standards.
The partnership will support the recent Presidential Memorandum on Ocean Mapping in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Shoreline and Near Shore of Alaska and the goals announced at the November 2019 White House Summit on Partnerships in Ocean Science and Technology.
“The NOAA-Ocean Infinity partnership will play a key role in helping NOAA reach its goal of fully mapping the U.S. EEZ and characterizing ocean environments to support their conservation, management, and balanced use,” said Alan Leonardi, Ph.D., director of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.
Craig McLean, assistant NOAA administrator for research, said, “Together, we’ll accelerate how we deliver important ocean information to those who need it most from ocean areas we know the least. This work will enhance our mission in science, operations and engineering.”
“This new partnership will help us more efficiently execute NOAA’s mission to advance unmanned drone systems and artificial intelligence to explore and map the U.S. EEZ,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Data and information about the ocean help our nation advance our Blue Economy, including maritime commerce, domestic seafood production, healthy and sustainable fisheries, coastal resilience, energy production, tourism and recreation, environmental protection and national security.”
Sean Fowler, Ocean Infinity’s Director of Business Development, said, “This is an exciting step for Ocean Infinity as we combine our leading deepwater exploration technology with NOAA’s prominent authority in ocean science. Perhaps greater than technology is the collaboration between leading engineers and scientists to ultimately improve our understanding of earth-ocean systems in remote environments.”