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XPRIZE Puts Up $8 Million To Advance Underwater Exploration

Jellyfish Underwater

XPRIZE, Shell Oil & the NOAA have announced their latest challenge, which includes a total prize pool of $8 million, geared towards the advancement of underwater exploration for the benefit of all mankind.

Image via Pixabay

The nonprofit foundation XPRIZE, whose mission is to create and manage humanity improving competitions, has just placed a total of $8 million into a prize pool for the winners of its recently announced underwater exploration challenges.

The two new challenges include a $7 million prize to whoever creates a shore or air-launched submersible capable of operating up to 4,000 meters below the surface of the ocean while performing of range of digital ocean mapping tasks and an additional $1 million to whoever can create an ocean “sniffer” capable of tracking specific biological and chemical compounds in the water column.

The global competition is scheduled to run for three-years before its winners are selected. The winner of the $7 million prize purse will receive the title of “XPRIZE Winner” in addition to their millions.

Dr. Jyotika Virmani, Prize Operations Senior Director at XPRIZE, was quoted by National Geographic as having said that the new competition, which is part of the nonprofit’s Ocean Initiative, is not only “technically challenging, but it is also very interdisciplinary” as it involves computer science, underwater robotics and even digital imagery.

This competition is technically challenging, but it is also very interdisciplinary. It involves underwater robotics, it involves computer science, there is a digital imagery component to it.

XPRIZE announced the new prize pool geared towards ocean mapping technologies at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

The competition is made possible through a partnership between Shell Oil Company, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and XPRIZE.

Dr. Virmani referred to the group’s collective goals in this instance as “the discovery of what is down there, what’s in the deep ocean.”

Collectively, Shell, NOAA and XPRIZE are all aligned in our goals, which is really the discovery of what is down there, what’s in the deep ocean (…) We want to help spur unparalleled ocean exploration through innovation and radical breakthroughs to find all the different wonders in the deep sea.

In total, the competition will includes 25 teams who will compete in two rounds, testing their newly invented technologies at two undisclosed locations. CBC reports one location to have a depth of 2,000 meters while the other – a depth of 4,000 meters.

For the 20-year-old nonprofit behind the competition, the latest challenge marks their 12th overall challenge and their third ocean-oriented.

Elon Musk, Larry Page and Arianna Huffington are all XPRIZE board members.

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