‘Digital Ocean’ Concept Could Connect Sensors at Sea

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

Photo: Liquid Robotics

Sensors that collect vast amounts of information are increasingly proliferating throughout the ocean. One company is working on a way to consolidate that data. 

“We have started evangelizing a concept called the ‘Digital Ocean,’ which is, how do you sensor network the ocean?” said Gary Gysin, president and CEO of Liquid Robotics, a company that specializes in autonomous maritime systems. 

Digital Ocean is essentially an internet of things for the sea, he said. The idea is to network underwater sensors, unmanned underwater vehicles, aerial drones and satellites and have them share data and computing power with each other, he added.

One day, such a system could help government officials spot undersea threats, predict weather and help crack down on illegal fishing, the company said.

Liquid Robotics is currently recruiting other companies in the maritime community to join the effort, he said. Digital Ocean is a long-term endeavor that will likely take five to 10 years to implement on a wide scale, Gysin said.

Liquid Robotics’ Wave Glider system — which can traverse the surface of the ocean — acts as an information relay between underwater and aerial assets, he said. The surface vehicle is employed by countries around the world to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information. 

The Boeing Co. acquired the company — which is based in Sunnyvale, California — late last year. That has given it new opportunities, Gysin said.

Liquid Robotics is now accessing the large enterprise of Boeing, he said. “It’s early, so we’re still trying to figure out how that works, how we can leverage their global footprint” of personnel.

Liquid Robotics is also seeing cost synergies and gaining access to more vendors. Additionally, it is more closely integrating its products with Boeing technology, such as the Echo Ranger autonomous underwater vehicle and Insitu’s ScanEagle unmanned aircraft, he said.


Topics: Intelligence and Surveillance, Undersea Warfare, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Robotics

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