US Navy Funds Australian Underwater Drone Maker to Find Unexploded Bombs
Aquabotix, the Australian developer of the duck-like underwater swarming drone SwarmdiverTM, has received funding from the United States Navy’s Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) to develop a solution that will be able to help find submerged, unexploded weapons.
Conflict over water often results in weapons and ammunition being lost underwater, and until they are located and removed safely, pose a risk to watercraft particularly if in shallow water.
In the Gulf of Mexico alone, there are 13.6 million kilograms of such unexploded artillery and bombs according to one study by Texas A&M University.
With the funding, which is non-dilutive and amounts to $78,000, Aquabotix will be able to develop a solution to solvethis problem and support the NUWC’s efforts to de-risk American waters.
The funding is unusual in that it has been procured in a relatively short amount of time – in this case just weeks instead of what can take months.
“We are grateful to the United States Navy for this initial order. Governmental procurement processes can take extended periods of time, yet NUWC obligated the funds within one month after we started our discussions about the issue with them,” Aquabotix’s Chief Executive Officer, Whitney Million, says.
Aquabotix, who have offices not only in Sydney, Australia but also in Massachusetts USA, hope that the methods they intend to develop will make the time consuming and expensive traditional processes of finding submerged explosives unnecessary.
In fact, they intend to provide the technology at a price point that will mean the purchased drone swarms will not be missed if they are, for example, blown up.
Because many drones can be deployed simultaneously, Aquabotix’s solution should also be instrumental in speeding up the process of neutralising American waters considerably.
“Aquabotix’s products are the platform for the solution to this immediate military need, and we look forward to this first phase of our co-operation with the Navy, and to fully productising our solution in a range of versions tailored for different uses,” Million concludes.
Aquabotix are also exploring other possible uses of their SwarmDiverTM UUVs within various branches of the United States military.