Ocean Discovery XPRIZE Announces Updates To Round 1 Testing

Ocean Discovery XPRIZE Announces Updates To Round 1 Testing

Round 1 Technology Readiness Test Will Comprise Site Visits to Each Semifinalist Team

Los Angeles (November 9, 2017) — XPRIZE, the global leader in designing and operating world-changing incentive competitions, today announced updates to the first round of testing for the 19 semifinalist teams competing in the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

Before Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the deep sea off the southern coast of Puerto Rico was chosen as the original Round 1 Field Test location for the 19 semifinalist teams competing in the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. However, due to the island’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria, Round 1 will now be a Technology Readiness Test comprised of site visits to each team, judged against 11 key measurement criteria. Round 1 begins in November 2017 and continues until February 2018, and will ensure the teams are challenged with rigorous criteria that show their technologies are capable of meeting the operational requirements necessary for rapid, unmanned, and high-resolution ocean exploration and discovery.

“Round 1 testing for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE takes us a step closer toward accelerating the development of a range of technologies that will give us a better understanding of the mysteries of the deep sea,” said Jyotika Virmani, Ph.D., prize lead and senior director of the XPRIZE Planet and Environment team. “We are very excited to begin Round 1 testing and, for the first time, see all the semifinalists demonstrate their innovative and diverse technological approaches to rapidly mapping the ocean floor.”

The timing of the initial test for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) $1 million Bonus Prize is also currently under review. For this Bonus Prize, teams will need to demonstrate that their technology can ”sniff out” a specified object in the ocean by tracing a biological and chemical signal to its source.

“In a dire time where the first priority is Puerto Rico’s swift recovery, XPRIZE remains grateful and committed in return. We share hopes with Puerto Rico that we can resume our planning in time for a NOAA Bonus Prize test in 2018,” added Virmani.

To support the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition, a highly qualified international and independent  judging panel consisting of experts in seafloor mapping, data analysis, marine and drone technologies, and underwater discoveries has been established: Victor Abbott, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Plymouth; Aida Alvera Azcarate, Ph.D., University of Liege; Douglas Au, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; Catherine Ball, Ph.D., Remote Research Ranges; Christina Kellogg, Ph.D., United States Geological Survey; David Mearns, Blue Water Recoveries; and Shah Selbe, National Geographic Emerging Explorer .

“We are extremely honored to have such a high caliber of expertise on the judging panel,” said Virmani. “Their diverse backgrounds and experience has added the necessary rigor needed to judge this very challenging competition.”

As determined by the judging panel, all semifinalist teams that meet the Round 1 Technology Readiness Test Criteria will split a $1 million Milestone Prize and move forward to the final Round 2 Field Test. In Round 2, the teams will have the opportunity to demonstrate their technologies in deep-sea, real-world, rigorous testing at a yet-to-be announced location.

Launched in 2015, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE semifinalists include teams with middle and high school students, university teams of undergraduate and graduate students, nonprofits, startups, and professional scientists and engineers. Representing 13 countries across five continents, the Ocean Discovery XPRIZE semifinalist teams’ innovative approaches involve unique, hybrid systems that mobilize gliders and drones, underwater robotic swarms, autonomous underwater vehicles, robotics, artificial intelligence, and massive computing platforms. Once launched, these robots and vehicles use artificial intelligence to navigate and explore, gathering underwater data for retrieval following each mission.

More information on semifinalist teams is available at: https://oceandiscovery.xprize.org/teams

XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE designs for impact using its “Four Pillar Strategic Framework” which includes impact architecture, impact design, prize development and execution, and impact scale. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowdsourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances—igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE, and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit  www.xprize.org.


About Royal Dutch Shell
Shell has been a technology pioneer for more than 100 years, and has come up with many industry-transforming “firsts” to deliver energy its customers and partners need. Since 2007, Shell has spent more than $1 billion annually on research and development. In 2014, our research and development expenditures were $1.2 billion. Shell’s technical and engineering staff number more than 43,000 people.

Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing, and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague, and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. For further information, visit  www.shell.com.


About National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a science-based federal agency within the Department of Commerce with regulatory, operational, and information service responsibilities with a presence in every state and U.S. territories. NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources. For more information, visit  www.noaa.gov.


Media Contacts:
Eric Desatnik / Jackie Wei
310.741.4892 / 310.741.4918
[email protected] / [email protected]

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