Description: While more than 20 companies are attempting to develop the first self-driving car, self-sailing boats already exist. Considering 70% of Earth’s surface is made up of water, it was just a matter of time before scientists developed a sailing drone. Saildrones, also known as Unmanned Sailing Vessels or USV collect critical data in the ocean. The hope is that Saildrones will transform the understanding of our oceans, while bringing insight into issues like weather, fish populations, climate change -- processes that affect every person on this planet and could help prevent ecological disasters. Richard Jenkins, the founder and CEO of Saildrone, says that understanding these processes, and their rate of change, is crucial to our economies and ultimately, our survival. The Saildrones roam the ocean collecting real-time data such as water acidity, fish counts, and marine life tracking. What makes Saildrones unique is their ability to use wind and solar power for energy which allows them to remain at sea for long periods of time through varying weather conditions. This makes the USV a cost effective alternative to traditional research ships. While Saildrones have already covered over 60,000 nautical miles spanning from the Bering Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, a recent funding round of 14 million dollars will allow them to broaden and continue their work worldwide. Coupled with ongoing development, these drones have the potential to redefine ocean monitoring by going further, faster and more cost effective than any other self-powered autonomous surface vehicles.
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