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Next Generation Underwater Lidar Technology

image of next generation underwater lidar

Imaging the structure of the deep seafloor is critical to understanding the biology and ecology of the largest living space on our planet. But to date, only about 20% of the ocean floor has been mapped at a resolution useful for scientific study. For the past 10 years, MBARI has worked with 3D at Depth to develop innovative tools to map the seafloor using lidar technology. Now, this partnership aims to create the next generation underwater lidar technology that can generate detailed high-resolution maps of underwater features.

From an article in Science X.

“To meet our goal of surveying the complex and rugged terrain of the deep seafloor at one-centimeter resolution, we’re working closely with 3D at Depth to develop enhanced lidar technology that will be smaller in size and weight and require less power, making it ideal for deployment on MBARI’s robotic submersibles and eventually, our autonomous robots too,” said Dave Caress, a principal engineer at MBARI and the principal investigator of MBARI’s Seafloor Mapping Lab.

“We’re excited that a research organization such as MBARI continues to use and invest in our technology to meet one of their strategic goals. These projects are truly a win-win for both organizations as it provides MBARI with a tool to meet their scientific goals and helps us improve our subsea lidar systems for diverse robotic platforms,” said 3D at Depth CEO Carl Embry.

The ocean covers roughly 70% of the Earth’s surface. Beneath its sapphire surface lies a complex terrain—expansive plains, towering seamounts, deep submarine canyons, and chasm-like trenches. Blending multi-scale seafloor mapping, imaging, targeted sampling, and novel sensors with precision navigation, MBARI has developed the capability to conduct efficient, high-resolution, and repeatable surveys of deep-sea research sites off Central California and beyond.

For the complete article on next generation underwater lidar CLICK HERE.

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