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Bedrock modernizes seafloor mapping with autonomous sub and cloud-based data – TechCrunch

The push for renewable energy has brought offshore wind power to the forefront of many an energy company’s agenda, which means taking a very close look at the ocean floor where the installations are to go. Fortunately, Bedrock is here to drag that mapping process into the 21st century with its autonomous underwater vehicle and modern cloud-based data service. The company aims to replace the standard “big ship with a big sonar” approach with a faster, more innovative, more contemporary service, letting companies spin up regular super-accurate seafloor imagery as quickly as they might spin up a few servers to host their website.

“We believe we’re the first cloud-native platform for seafloor data,” said Anthony DiMare, CEO and co-founder (with CTO Charlie Chiau) of Bedrock. “This is a big data problem — how would you design the systems to support that solution? Instead of like a huge marine operation, we make it a modern data service — you’re not tied to this massive piece of infrastructure floating in the water. Everything from the way we move sonars around the ocean to the way we deliver the data to engineers has been rethought.”

The product Bedrock provides customers is high-resolution maps of the seafloor, made available via Mosaic, a standard web service that does all the analysis and hosting for you — a big step forward for an industry where “data migration” still means “shipping a box of hard drives.”

Typically, DiMare explained, this data was collected, processed, and stored on the ships themselves. Since they were designed to do everything from harbor inspections to deep-sea surveys, they couldn’t count on having a decent internet connection, and the data is useless in its raw form. Like any other bulky data, it needs to be visualized and put in context. These data sets are enormous, tens of terabytes in size,” said DiMare. “Typical cloud systems aren’t the best way to manage 20,000 sonar files.

The current market is more focused on detailed, near-shore data than the deep sea since there’s a crush to take part in the growing wind energy market. This means that data is collected much closer to ordinary internet infrastructure and can be handed off for cloud-based processing and storage more easily than before. That, in turn, means the data can be processed and provided faster, just in time for demand to take off. As DiMare explained, while there may have been a seafloor survey done in the last couple of decades of a potential installation site, that’s only the first step.  An initial mapping pass might have to be made to confirm the years-old maps and add detail, then another for permitting.

For environmental assessments, engineering, construction, and regular inspections. If this could be done with a turnkey automated process that produced even better results than crewed ships for less money, it’s a huge win for customers relying on old methods. And if the industry grows as expected to require more active monitoring of the seafloor along every U.S. coast, it’s a win for Bedrock as well, naturally.

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