One of our favorite RBR50 companies, Liquid Robotics, is at it again, this time in the world of ocean data collection.
The company’s Wave Glider, wave-powered, autonomous marine vehicle, we’ve followed on a 13,000-mile voyage to Hawaii; watched it shadow Great White Sharks in the Pacific; and then turn into an oil and gas explorer with Schlumberger…all within a few short months of each other.
Now the hardy seafarer is fast becoming the emerging best-around at another ocean challenge. Money Morning?s Michael Robinson sat down for a chat with Bill Vass, CEO of Liquid Robotics, about that other new business venture: ocean data.
Wave Glider?s packed with sensors that can gather a wide range of critical data about the world’s oceans. According to Bill Vass, that potentially puts Liquid Robotics at the forefront of a $40 billion market.
In fact, Vass recently launched a new unit that will target the Pentagon for sales at a time when the Navy desperately needs cheaper sources of data.
Meanwhile, just a few weeks earlier, Liquid Robotics snared both a contract and an investment from Schlumberger Ltd., the oil services giant with a market cap of about $100 billion.
Bill Vass: “I think the first thing that every investor needs to understand is that about $10 trillion a year of our global economy, in one way or another, depends on the oceans.”
“That includes oil coming out of it or minerals or fish coming out of it or goods moving across it. And the number one thing that affects the prices of commodities today is weather. The majority of our weather is controlled by the oceans.”
“Because of the economic value of the oceans, about $40.4 billion is spent annually collecting data and doing ocean operations to manage that $10 trillion of economy.
“They mostly spend that $40 billion on ships, buoys and satellites. Those are the primary ways that data is collected from the ocean today.”
In the defense sector, Vass notes that the U.S. and other navies need to find cheaper means of conducting surveillance, monitoring and communications.
His robots aid in all three. Not only that, they could be a boon for anti-submarine warfare. The Wave Gliders run silently, meaning the enemy can’t hear them even with advanced acoustic sensors.
Vass has already put Grant Palmer in charge of the defense unit. Palmer arrived with 32 years of defense tech experience. He formerly served as a senior executive at L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., a large defense firm focused on electronic systems.
And with the Schlumberger deal, Vass created Liquid Robotics Oil & Gas, a joint venture with the services giant to develop data systems for the oil and gas industry.
As Vass notes, the Wave Glider can run up to a year without fuel or the support of marine vessels.
They can provide seismic and other data for oil exploration. And they can save lives because ships and other crews in this sector often work in dangerous locales.Read More