Thinking outside the Boat , The Development of the Submaran and Its Applications
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"Thinking outside the Boat", The Development of the Submaran and Its Applications

Eric Patten, President and CEO, Ocean Aero

The Challenge 

Oceans cover over 70  percent of our world’s surface and contain 97 percent of the planet’s water, yet humans have yet to explore more than 10 percent of these dynamic ocean communities. This is not due in part to lack of effort, rather the study of our world’s oceans is expensive, challenging, dangerous, and time-consuming. There in lies a momentous opportunity to create a game-changing solution not only for the study of our oceans, but for the protection of it as well. And that’s where Ocean Aero comes along.

“We are looking to provide a cheaper, more efficient, and more creative solution than what exists today; and we are doing just that.” 

 We are focused on solving our world’s ocean observation challenges for the military, scientific, security, and oil and gas communities by designing a "game changing" surface and sub-surface vessel, the Submaran™. This Unmanned, Underwater, Surface Vessel (UUSV) is self-propelling, as it is completely powered by wind and solar energies, making it capable of month long assignments at sea. Our objective is to assist other organizations in gathering and delivering data through a unique, efficient, persistent, and eco-friendly platform. We are looking to provide a cheaper, more efficient, and more creative solution than what exists today; and we are doing just that.  

Development and Solution 

The development of the Submaran™ is the direct result of a group of incredibly talented individuals coming together to work towards our mission of better understanding our oceans. Each member of our crew brings a unique set of skills that aids us in “thinking outside the boat” with regards to the various challenges we are trying to solve. Our mission of observing, understanding, and protecting the world’s oceans via research and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), aligns with many other organizations and governments desire to collect data and protect our valuable ocean and coastal communities. 

We have spent the last three years developing the Submaran™ product line, but as with any new company or product, we faced our fair share of challenges. In late 2012, we started putting together a team of individuals that possessed the skills we thought could help create a ground breaking and innovative product –a sailboat that could become a submarine.  

By late 2013, we had built and began testing our first prototype – we were essentially a garage company but were growing. We raised “angel” money as we continued to research and develop the Submaran™. In mid-2014, we had garnered the attention of a very large corporation, Teledyne, who saw value in who we are and what we are doing, which allowed us to raise our first significant investment, putting us in high gear. With the financial support we needed, we were able to focus on building a second prototype, which we used to develop our underwater capabilities. With the momentum behind us, we were able to keep moving fast and by the end of 2015 we had built, in addition to our two prototypes, three “pre-production” vessels which are currently putting through a rigorous test regime over the next few months.  

We recently revealed the final testing and development of the Submaran™ S10 which will become available to customers in the first part of this year. This was just months after signing a multi-million dollar two-year contract with the Department of Defense, for a much larger vehicle. Our latest model, the Submaran™ S10, is the first vessel designed for extended autonomous ocean observation and data collection. The S10 model has the ability to dive ten meters, remain under water to avoid poor conditions, traffic, or detection, and then reemerge.  This vehicle is equipped with a retractable wing-sail that folds down when the boat submerges and is completely powered by wind and solar propulsion. The S10 has the power and payload for a wide range of sensor systems and as a hybrid vessel; it is as comfortable on the surface, as it is below. Even more, it is easily transported by land, sea or air, making it useful in a variety of industries.  

We have chosen to focus on four industries that best suit the Submaran’s™ capabilities, but we also have the ability to transform and customize parts of the vessel to provide key advantages for our customers based on their needs. The Submaran™ is the ideal platform for scientific, commercial, government, defense and intelligence applications, but not limited to environmental monitoring and sampling, marine mammal tracking, fisheries monitoring, oceanographic and meteorological data gathering, and asset surveillance and security. That being said, the Submaran is “sensor agnostic”, meaning whatever purpose the Submaran is being used for, we can customize sensors to that specific mission (weight pending).  

The vessel’s ability to autonomously move throughout waters for six to nine months at a time without returning to land provides various organizations a rare opportunity to observe the ocean environment with a minimal cost and footprint. There is so much we have yet to learn about our oceans, and a huge opportunity exists for those seeking to solve that challenge. At Ocean Aero, we are accelerating discovery. 

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