Exocetus named Semi-Finalist in the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE


Wallingford, CT - Team Exocetus has been named one of the 21 semi-finalists in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. This marks the next step in a three year global competition challenging teams to advance ocean technologies for rapid, unmanned and high-resolution ocean mapping.

Team Exocetus is the team name for Exocetus Autonomous Systems, a small company from Wallingford, CT that produces the Coastal Glider. The Coastal Glider is an extremely efficient mobile subsea sensor platform that can carry a wide variety of sensors for long duration missions at sea. Team Exocetus will deploy several of the vehicles to meet the competition requirements.

“The competition is really tough from many standpoints,” says Joe Turner, co-founder of Exocetus Autonomous Systems. “Any one aspect of the competition, whether reaching the depths of the ocean, producing a high resolution map, or capturing inspiring images, would be hard by itself. Combine all of them, and couple them with the truly audacious timeline of the competition, and you end up with the hardest challenge we could ever think of facing.”

“It is very challenging, and we’re one of a few American teams in a truly global competition” continues Greg Santos, Ocean Discovery XPRIZE team member with Exocetus. “25 different countries are represented in this competition, and everyone brings a unique approach and perspective. We’re confident that our gliders will be very competitive. And, aside from the technical challenges, we’re actively pursuing an exclusive, Premiere Sponsor to help us get across the finish line. That’s as big a challenge as any technical hurdle we have to overcome.”

During Round 1 of the Competition, teams will deploy their entries to operate at a depth of 2,000 meters, aiming to map at least 20 percent of the 500 square kilometers of the competition area at five meters resolution, identifying and imaging at least five archeological, biological or geological features at any depth - all within 16 hours. In other words, the Competition technologies will aim to reach depths deeper than the Grand Canyon and map an area that is nearly five times the area of Paris.

Up to 10 finalist teams will be selected to proceed past Round 1 and will split a $1M milestone prize purse. In Round 2, they will need to operate their entries at a depth of 4,000 meters, aim to map at least 50 percent of the 500 square kilometer competition area at five meters resolution, identifying and imaging at least ten archeological, biological or geological features at any depth, all within 24 hours.

At the end of the competition, a $4M Grand Prize and $1M Second Place Prize will be awarded to the teams that receive the top scores for demonstrating the highest resolution seafloor mapping, after meeting all minimum requirements for speed, autonomy and depth.

As part of the total $7M prize purse, Exocetus will also be competing for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) $1M bonus prize and will need to demonstrate that their technology can “sniff out” a specified object in the ocean by tracing a biological and chemical signal to its source.

You can follow Team Exocetus’ progress through their website, Facebook page or Twitter account (all linked from their website). If you want to get involved with the team, please reach out to xprize@exocetussystems.com. Anyone interested in sponsoring the team, please reach out to sponsorship@exocetussystems.com.

About Exocetus Autonomous Systems

Exocetus Autonomous Systems designs and produces open-platform autonomous underwater vehicles for commercial and research activities. Our Coastal Glider, powered by our patented buoyancy engine, is uniquely capable in coastal environments where currents and salinity barriers inhibit other vehicles. We produce vehicles for research and commercial applications and work closely with customers to meet any sensing and measurements needs they have. We are seeking investment partners who align with our interest in autonomous maritime systems. We are a semi-finalist in the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, accelerating the unmanned exploration of the uncharted deep by mapping the ocean floor.


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