By Hydro International

Fugro has entered into a partnership with the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to support first-round testing of the global, three-year competition, which incentivises development of rapid, unmanned and high-resolution ocean mapping technologies. Fugro’s role is to provide high-resolution deepwater baseline bathymetry data over a 500km² competition area. The company has recently collected more than 1 million square kilometres of high-resolution bathymetry data per year globally, predominantly in water depths greater than 750 metres.

Capitalising on its deepwater survey expertise, Fugro will acquire the seafloor data using equipment including a deepwater autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with sonar-based survey systems. This information will be used to ground-truth the work of 21 semi-finalist teams advancing to Round 1 of the competition. The challenge for the competing teams is to deploy their inventions to operate at 2,000 metres ocean depth, mapping 20% of the project site at 5.0 metres resolution, and identifying at least five archaeological, biological or geological features, all within a 16-hour timeframe.

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