A New Generation of Autonomous Vessels Is Looking to Catch Illegal Fishers
A design challenge has tech companies racing to build a robot that can police illegal fishing in marine protected areas
November 19, 2020
By Vanessa Minke-Martin, Hakai Magazine
The first time engineers from Open Ocean Robotics pushed Scooby, a three-meter robotic boat, onto a lake near their office in Victoria, British Columbia, the small craft drove straight into the bushes. Clearly, the team had more work to do on the vessel’s autopilot.
Since that early mission last year, the start-up has won innovation awards, secured seed funding, and “spent tons of time on the water” ironing out the kinks in their autonomous vessels, says Julie Angus, the company’s CEO and cofounder. The 12-person team is now up against Connecticut-based tech company ThayerMahan and Marine Advanced Robotics from Silicon Valley in a cutting-edge design challenge to build a robot that can police illegal fishing in marine protected areas (MPAs). Scooby‘s successor (named after another character) completed the first stage in the multiyear project: a three-day field demonstration using surveillance technology to track boats, detect fishing activity, and collect evidence……READ MORE.