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Critical data from our oceans is being collected by drones from Saildrone

PMEL Saildrone in San Francisco in 2015: Research Innovation & Marine Ecosystems

Their primary domain may be the air, but they’re taking the seas by storm, too. The drones from Saildrone Inc. (shown in the soundless video above) are in the business of collecting critical data from the oceans that cover 70 percent of our planet’s surface, which is to say, there’s a lot of data to be collected. And now, Saildrone has received a fresh injection of cash to help process all this information.

A new $14 million Series A funding round is slated to help Saildrone and its fleet of autonomous sailing drones continue its work in the oceans, work that includes protecting coastal borders, tracking ocean acidification, detecting oil spills, following tagged marine life, and more.

“Data collected by the Saildrones will not only transform the understanding of our oceans, but will also bring insight into issues like weather, fish populations, ocean acidification and climate change — processes that will affect every person on this planet,” said Richard Jenkins, founder and CEO of Saildrone. “Understanding these processes, and their rate of change, is crucial to our economies and ultimately, our survival.”

Saildrone’s machines were developed in a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and since launching in 2013, have sailed over 60,000 nautical miles, with missions in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Bering Sea.

“The most valuable technology companies of our generation are ones that collect massive and important data sets,” said Ted Maidenberg, co-founder and partner at Social Capital, one of Saildrone’s newest investors. “Oceans cover over 70 percent of the earth’s surface, but we know very little about them due to the historically prohibitive cost of research,” he continued. “We’re excited about the vast commercial applications of Saildrone-collected data as well as how these unprecedented insights into our oceans will help the world move beyond debate and into action when it comes to climate change.”

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