Only about 20% of the world's ocean floor has been thoroughly mapped, making it as much a frontier for science, energy, telecommunications, and defense as the moon or Mars, but far closer. Terradepth Inc. this week said it has raised another $20 million toward its development of “Google Earth for the oceans.”
Founded in 2018 by Joe Wolfel and Judson Kauffman, two former U.S. Navy SEALs, Terradepth last month launched its Absolute Ocean (AO) platform, a cloud-based platform for sharing and analyzing ocean data securely.
The Austin, Texas-based company uses “Buddy Drones,” autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), to collect data at depths of 6,000 m (1,685 ft.) that it provides as a service for marine exploration and decision making.
“Terradepth’s unique unmanned submersible technology will enable cost-effective, detailed data-capture that, when paired with big data analytics and machine learning, will offer new insights into our oceans,” said the company on its Web site. “Persistent surveillance of our subsea environment by our fleet of autonomous submersibles will enable researchers and conservationists to observe patterns in our underwater ecosystems that were previously undetectable.”
“By continuously populating Terradepth’s cloud-based information portal, we aim to enhance humanity’s relationship with the ocean, its ecosystems, and marine life,” it added.
Terradepth to use funding for hardware, software
Giant Ventures and Nimble Ventures led Terradepth's latest funding round. The company previously raised $8 million in 2019, according to TechCrunch.
“Our vast oceans cover most of our planet and are vital to human life, yet we know very little about them,” stated Cameron McLain, managing partner at Giant Ventures. “Terradepth’s one-of-a-kind ocean data portal and its autonomous underwater vehicles will provide a full map of the oceans, accurately and at scale.”
“The power to act and understand begins with knowledge and data,” he said. “Governments, businesses, and research organizations need this information to mitigate climate change, reduce risk, and plan effectively.”
The global market for offshore AUVs and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) will experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 6% between 2022 and 2027, predicted ReportLinker. It cited energy demand and said that countries including the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and Norway are market leaders.
Terradepth said it plans to use its latest funding to improve the charging system for its AUVs and further develop Absolute Ocean.
“This year, our primary focus is offshore wind site surveys and infrastructure inspection,” said Kauffman.
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