An ocean going drone is protecting the world’s largest marine reserve An ocean going drone is protecting the world’s largest marine reserve
WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Conservations have always had to work on a budget, I know, I’ve been one, but now technology is helping... An ocean going drone is protecting the world’s largest marine reserve


  • Conservations have always had to work on a budget, I know, I’ve been one, but now technology is helping them in ways that were previously unimaginable
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Whether it’s robots stunning invasive species like Lionfish and the Crown of Thorns, or scientists using 3D printing to resurrect dying reefsArtificial Intelligence (AI) to identify species or create a Facebook for Whales, or genetic editing to wipe out species, it’s undeniable that conservations are increasingly turning to technology to help them fix the damage that’s being wrought on the planet’s ecosystems.


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Now, an ocean going, solar powered drone called Wave Glider, that’s made by a Boeing company called Liquid Robotics, has been enlisted by the UK Government to help spot illegal fishing in the world’s largest, continuous marine reserve – the 834,000 square km, or 322,000 square mile, zone around the Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific which the UK designated a marine nature reserve back in 2015.


Introducing the Wave Glider

The plan is that the data gathered by the drone will be beamed back to a satellite control room in Harwell Science Park in Oxfordshire and be used by authorities to help prosecute unauthorised trawling which has become an increasing problem in the reserve.

That said though, and as if all that isn’t enough for the sea faring drone, it’s also going to be patrolling areas in the reserve designated as no fishing zones and using its on board camera it’s going to take snaps of fishing vessels that are in restricted areas, and then use satellite technology that can pinpoint their location.


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The drone is comprised of two parts – an instrument bearing boat that floats on the ocean surface that is tethered to a submersible – and it uses the differential motion between the sea surface and the region the submersible traverses to propel itself along which means it can stay at sea for months at a time.

The seas around the Pitcairns are believed to be home to more than 1,200 species of fish, marine mammals and birds, some of which are unique to the region and it also supports the world’s deepest and most well developed coral reef.

The unmanned craft starting patrolling late last month.

Matthew Griffin Global Futurist 未来学家, Tech Evangelist, XPrize Mentor ● Int'l Keynote Speaker ● Disruption, Futures and Innovation expert

Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Among other things Matthew keeps busy helping the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers ideate the next five generations of smartphones, and what comes beyond, the world’s largest chip makers envision the next twenty years of intelligent machines, and is helping Europe’s largest energy companies re-invent energy generation, transmission and retail. Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who has been featured on the BBC, Discovery and other outlets. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew helps them envision the future and helps them transform their industries, products and go to market strategies, and shows them how the combination of new, democratised, powerful emerging technologies are helping accelerate cultural, industrial and societal change. Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Blackrock, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Du Pont, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, SAP, Samsung, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, Sopra Steria, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.

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