Autonomous Marine Systems Inc. (AMS), a marine data services company, announces $1.6M in seed funding. This investment will allow AMS to deploy an additional $1.9M in grant funding that the company won in 2015. The capital will go towards advancing existing contracts with customers in the offshore energy industry and Department of Defense, and allow the company to pursue interest from other private and public sector customers both domestic and international. The company has paid pilots scheduled through 2017 in key markets throughout the world.
“Long duration, unblinking ocean observation will allow us to be better stewards of our critical maritime resources,” says Eamon Carrig, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AMS. “Our goal at AMS is to build a global, flexible, and extensible observation system as quickly and efficiently as possible.” To that end, the company has spent 6 years on R&D and pilot programs, recently completing commercial demonstrations for marquee customers in the energy and defense sectors.
Each Datamaran is a node in the AMS network. Using peer-to-peer communication, and redundant host systems on land, swarms of Datamarans can self-organize for maximum efficiency in carrying out their mission. This capability allows for ocean surveillance of unprecedented richness and responsiveness to changing conditions. Image Courtesy: AMS
AMS’ core technology is the Datamaran®, A Satellite for the Seas®, an internationally patented, zero- emissions sailcraft that serves as a platform for sensors and instrumentation. It can be be operated in the open ocean for long durations without any human intervention or fuel. By deploying these vehicles in large fleets, AMS will drastically lower the cost of ocean data collection, including data that helps manage ocean resources and feeds into climate models. By endowing the Datamaran® with advanced networking technologies, AMS is building the world’s first pan-oceanic, intelligent sensor network and data distribution channel.
The AMS network bridges the gap between satellite networks, and the interior of the oceans without requiring a large ship. AMS is cost-effectively bringing the internet of things to the marine space. Each boat can meet the demands of several mission profiles simultaneously and serve several customers at once. For example, each boat continuously monitors local meteorological conditions such as wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, temperature (both above and below the surface), and wave height. These metrics, in particular, are valuable to both scientists and maritime operators.
The global shipping industry emits approximately four percent of greenhouse gasses but efforts to improve its efficiency have historically received little-to-no attention from the cleantech investment community. AMS plans to address these inefficiencies in global shipping by providing real-time, in-situ, high precision measurements of key meteorological and navigational parameters along high density shipping lanes. AMS will offer a subscription service to customers interested in capturing ocean dynamics both above and below the surface.
“CEVG is excited to help support AMS’ mission to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships while providing critical new data about the impact of climate change on our oceans,” said Carl Nelson, Managing Director at CEVG who lead this round. “We expect fast-paced adoption of this technology across several sectors.”
As AMS begins to monetize its core product, the company has an eye to the future of ocean robotics. “Future ocean observation will involve a heterogeneous network of unmanned systems,” opined Carrig. “The surface component of this network has historically been overlooked due to the particular challenges found in maintaining a commandable, responsive presence there.” AMS has built upon recent advances in control algorithms and naval architecture to address that shortfall. By providing an ultra-long duration, power- positive, and faster-than-surface-current data collection capability, the Datamaran® is a breakthrough technology.
The round includes participation from the Clean Energy Venture Group (CEVG), Fontinalis Partners, Industrial Investors Group, Signal Ventures, I2BF Global Ventures, the Texas HALO Fund, and several angel investors.