Saildrone received $60 million in Series B funding to improve its global fleet of wind-powered ocean sailing drones. The new kind of Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV),”Saildrones”, aims to provide high-resolution ocean data.
This funding brings the total amount raised by the company since its commercial debut in 2016 to almost $90 million. Saildrone has successfully partnered with US agencies such as NOAA and NASA to provide high-quality ocean observations. Now, the company announced a collaboration with Australia-based CSIRO and the opening of operations in the Southern Ocean from Hobart, Tasmania.
Saildrone has also opened a 200,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility in Alameda, CA, enabling Saildrone to accelerate its manufacturing and deployment of the 1,000 autonomous vehicles.
Saildrones are designed for long range long duration ocean data collection missions of up to 12 months. A Saildrone can navigate to a chosen study area using wind power for propulsion, transiting at 3-5 knots. Each drone then starts collecting high resolution data, as required by the specific mission objectives. Saildrone USVs operate around the world, in any ocean conditions.
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Moreover, Saildrones feature a comprehensive scientific sensor suite, to measure key environmental variables. Measurements for each variable have been validated by NOAA through extensive comparison with ship and buoy measurements and recognized as climate-grade quality. Saildrones can also have a pCO2 sensor for carbon applications, an ADCP for profiling and an echo sounder for fish stock assessment and survey grade depth.
The data collected by the Saildrone is transmitted back to shore in real-time through satellite. This data is delivered via a user-friendly web portal, which can be accessed on any computer or smart phone for live data visualization.