With the world’s first underwater smart drone EVE in her hands, NestEd speaker Sampriti Bhattacharyya, founder of Hydroswarm, discussed the usage of underwater drones for ocean exploration and to collect maritime data.
Bhattacharyya’s presentation on Wednesday evening, entitled “Drones of the Deep,” described her challenge in creating an adaptable and cheap marine robot technology, similar to the already widespread aerial drones. She also emphasized the need for ocean exploration.
“Almost 75 percent of the world is ocean, and you would be surprised even today we know less than 5 percent of [the ocean]… less than how much we know about the moon’s surface. It’s funny, because we always talk about how we are going to run out of resources and energy, then you realize actually that 95 percent of the world’s energy, resources, and platforms come directly from the ocean,” Bhattacharyya said during her presentation.
“So the question here is that the ocean is right there when we go to holidays to see pretty beaches, but why can’t we explore the ocean much?” she continued.
Bhattacharyya mentioned that marine science remains mostly unexplored due to numerous limitation. She described how the current robot technology primarily consisting of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) is expensive and inaccessible to the public.
“In the ocean, there are a bunch of things that just do not work. For example, radar signals. We can hear and receive data from Mars and from way out of the solar system whereas, in the ocean, you cannot send any high frequency data by radar waves, so GPS does not work… you can’t hear, you can’t really see well, and on top of it, communication – sending information – is very hard,” said Bhattacharyya.
Bhattacharyya pitched the idea for her company in 2015, inspired to create autonomous smart drones that would overcome the environmental and financial difficulties of exploring and examining the ocean. She established Hydroswarm, a company that has been awarded numerous awards, namely the 2015 Mass Challenge, for its innovative ideas.
“I am a rebel [and] I have always tried to find the hardest things to work with,” said Bhattacharyya in an interview with The Phillipian. “[I like to deal with] the things that make my life difficult.”
Since its launch, Hydroswarm strives to design small and adjustable artificially intelligent technology that is capable of various functions while withstanding the intense pressure underwater. The smart drones will be applied to a wide variety of tasks that last from monitoring serious global issues such as oil and gas spills to personal leisure applications like taking automated pictures while people scuba dive.
For instance, Bhattacharyya proposed using her drones to find the Malaysian airplane that crashed two years ago. She advised that the attachment of a listening device could easily detect sound waves from the aircraft.
Claudia Wessner, Acquisitions Librarian and Coordinator of The Nest, believes that Bhattacharyya’s topic will be informational and inspiring for many attendees.
Wessner said, “I think it definitely sets some light bulbs off people’s heads… Bringing in different professionals like [Bhattacharyya] can help people think of something that they would have never thought of. Also, you can see right now that a lot of different people are talking to our guests. They can approach them and talk to them about their interests and get some advice from the professionals.”