With land-based mineral deposits beginning to run out and the cost of precious-metals extraction on the rise, large mining companies—and even nation states—are racing to the bottom of the sea in an attempt to exploit the incalculable mineral resources of the world’s oceans.
At the forefront of this effort are robots, in the form of specialized remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). But it’s a race filled with uncertainty. No one knows the exact quantity of the precious metals. Indeed, to date, no one has mined the oceans for precious metals at depths greater than 200 meters, and licenses for exploration and mining remain hard to come by.
Inside this issue:
1 Mining the Seafloor with Robots
6 Robot Icons
6 DARPA Watch
8 Exploring the Oceans for the Price of a Luxury Car
9 Fishing for Robotic Propulsion Secrets
11 Building Buildings with Robots
15 The Coming Boom in Robotic Parking Garages
18 When It Takes a Snake
20 Regis Vincent’s New Take on Autonomy