Hear the Pitch
Kelp forests, some of the earth’s most dynamic ecosystems, are in decline partially due to unsustainable sea urchin populations, which eat kelp. The decline in kelp adversely impacts ocean acidity, biodiversity, coastal erosion, and does extensive economic damage to fisheries. Yet current restoration methods involve human divers, which is dangerous, costly, and unscalable.
To address this issue, Marauder Robotics builds and deploys an underwater robot that automates urchin management, eliminating the need for human divers. The robot uses machine learning to identify and remove specific species from the ocean—helping to manage ocean prey and predator populations. It also continuously monitors the restoration area, providing near real-time environmental geospatial data.
By replacing human divers with a bot, Marauder Robotics provides a cost-effective, safe, and scalable alternative to ocean restoration and underwater monitoring efforts. Marauder Robotics technologies will initially help keep urchin populations in check, allowing kelp forests to expand and enabling ocean ecosystems to achieve the level of biodiversity intended by nature.
- The unmanned underwater vehicle market is projected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2017 to $5.2 billion by 2022, and the coastal surveillance market is expected to exceed $35.5 billion by 2022.
- Diver restoration can cost up to $375,000 per acre, compared to only $40,000 per acre per year with Marauder Robotics.
- In comparison to a human diver, the Marauder Robotics vehicle is nine times cheaper, can dive 90 feet deeper, and target 500 urchins for every individual urchin a diver targets.
- Filed provisional patent application and built initial power module prototype
- Entrepreneurship networks: Flashpoint at Georgia Tech, Atlanta Technical Department Center, MIT Startup Exchange
Marauder Robotics currently has two groups of partners for robot development and initial piloting:
- Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech Research Institute on technology development and a broader research partnership
- The Bay Foundation, The Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania Australia, and The Sydney Institute of Marine Studies at University of New South Wales Australia are piloting the solution and using their capital and resources to support the deployments
Marauder Robotics seeks to achieve the following goals as it deploys initial pilots:
- Develop and expand to new uses for their underwater robot such as ocean data collection
- Refine their business and revenue model from a prototype to a replicable service
- Cultivate a marketing and social media presence to reach new partners and clients
To reach the goals mentioned above, Marauder Robotics seeks partnerships to:
- Mentor and advise product development and strategic planning
- Support marketing and communications that clearly distribute data
- Build connections to investors and grantors to progress their fundraising strategy
Restoring kelp forests supported a 0.2 increase in pH in a beta partner's restoration zone.
Kelp regrowth was almost immediate, and a healthy ecosystem was achieved in 15-18 months.
Atlanta, GA, USA
Robotics to Restore Ocean Ecosystems
Solver Marauder Robotics, which designs robots to accelerate ocean ecosystem restoration and maintain balance, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2018 for being selected as a Coastal Communities Solver.