Melbourne startup unveils ocean floor 'Street View' submarine

Written on the 29 October 2019 by Business News Australia

Melbourne startup unveils ocean floor 'Street View' submarine

Emerging Melbourne tech startup UAM Tec (Underwater Autonomous Mapping Technology) has revealed its first product, dubbed Google Maps Street View for the ocean floor.

Sub Mapping is UAM Tec's new underwater submarine that can autonomously map the world's oceans, lakes and waterways, creating what the company calls "WaterView".

The submarine will generate publicly accessible maps of the ocean floor which UAM Tec hope can be used for research purposes.

The startup intends to launch swarms of the small submarines to create a public map of the ocean with WaterView in the same way Google's Street View visualises the surface of the earth.

UAM Tec was co-founded by Benjamin Fleming (pictured left), who has over 14 years of experience in project mapping and entrepreneurship, and Shawn Taylor (pictured right), who brings over 20 years' experience in tech, network infrastructure, software development, engineering and IT.

Co-founder Fleming says Sub Mapping has the potential to transform the way we perceive and understand the world's oceans, lakes, and waterways.

"We want to be able to educate the next generation about everything that exists in our world," says Fleming.

"The fact that we know more about space than we do about our own oceans is unacceptable with today's technology. Our Sub Mapping technology will change this. Not only will we be able to discover new species of marine life and track climate change, but in time we will also be able to optimise search and rescue operations, locate wreckages and black boxes, and much more."

The Sub Mapping submarine (provided)

Fleming says that by opening up the maps generated by the subs to the public the world will become better informed about the planet.

"As a research tool, the subs will provide insights useful for a range of industries with their ability to gather data," says Fleming.

"We will also be able to share knowledge and imagery with the public. Ultimately, we will be able to look at ways to live in better harmony with our planet."

UAM Tec's subs, powered by lithium batteries, will operate two meters above the ocean floor and use camera imagery, sonar, motion tracking and artificial intelligence to navigate its underwater environment.

With a battery life of 40 hours the submarines will be able to travel a range of 100km in distance and 300m in depth with a battery life of 40 hours, after which the submarine will automatically head back to its base to recharge.

The Melbourne-based startup hopes to be the leading provider of mapping technologies for the oceans, lakes and waterways by 2021.

The first excursion for the Sub Mapping submarines will take place close to home in Melbourne's bays and water bodies.

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