NOAA teams with Ocean Infinity to advance new tools for ocean exploration and mapping

Ocean Infinity’s autonomous underwater vehicles can be simultaneously deployed. Each AUV is launched from the back of the vessel.
Ocean Infinity’s autonomous underwater vehicles can be simultaneously deployed. Each AUV is launched from the back of the vessel. (Ocean Infinity)

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and the ocean data and technology company Ocean Infinity offsite link have announced a new agreement to develop deep-water autonomous technologies that can gather ultra-high-resolution ocean information.

The four-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between NOAA and Ocean Infinity will also focus on advancing telepresence or the transmission of ocean video and information in real-time to public and academic audiences as well as new data collection and processing methods to increase the value and relevance of deep-ocean data.  

“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 United States Exclusive Economic Zone,” 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.”  

The collaboration will support the recent Presidential Memorandum on Ocean Mapping in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone 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.

Developing new robots to rapidly characterize the deep ocean

“This is an exciting step for Ocean Infinity as we combine our leading deep-water exploration technology with NOAA’s prominent authority in ocean science,” said Sean Fowler, director of business development for Ocean Infinity. “Perhaps greater than technology is the collaboration between leading engineers and scientists to ultimately improve our understanding of earth-ocean systems in remote environments." 

Craig McLean, assistant NOAA administrator for research, added, “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.”

Only 43 percent of the 3.4 million square nautical miles of U.S. territory underwater is mapped to modern standards. “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.  

Ocean Infinity is a world-leading technology company that uses innovative state-of-the-art sensor technology to acquire and analyze ocean data. By leading national efforts to explore our ocean and making ocean exploration more accessible, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is filling gaps in the basic understanding of U.S. deep waters and seafloor, providing critical deep-ocean data, information, and awareness that is needed to sustain and accelerate the economy, health, and security of our nation. NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

Media contacts
Monica Allen, 301-734-1123
Sean Fowler, 253-878-2826