A startup will use underwater drones to find treasures 33 feet beneath the seabed
- The SeaSearcher is an experimental platform that is focused on localizing objects of interest ranging from the sea-bottom to several meters below the bottom.
- SeaSearcher offers the technology to perform high-resolution 3D imaging below the sea-bottom in real-time on an autonomous vehicle has not.
- The underwater drone might change the way the industry as a whole will operate in the future.
Good news treasure hunters, you can now search for your booty underwater with the SeaSearcher underwater drone.
The manufacturer of the underwater drone, SeaFarer, claims that SeaSearcher can detect and differentiate various types of metal buried up to 33 feet (10 meters) beneath the seabed while creating and relaying a 3D digital map of their location.
Its functioning prototype of SeaSearcher, designed by engineer Tim Reynolds, CEO of partnering company Wild Manta, is being tested after receiving a permit from the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research on July 24th, 2014 for an area south of Cape Canaveral.
"I've been given the rights to salvage old Spanish and other types of wrecks along the coastline here in Florida," Seafarer CEO Kyle Kennedy told New Atlas. "All these ships used to dock in Havana; they would load up with gold from the New World and head up the Gulf Stream before heading across the ocean. Storms would sink them on their routes. There are over a thousand of these shipwrecks, but the problem is, there's never been equipment that would show you where gold and silver was, under the sand."
Seafarer has three different work platforms (boats) to work off of with three different crews on the site and a small run-about anchor boat. The three work boats have experienced crew members of at least four divers per boat. Seafarer utilizes three archeologists, one with a doctorate from Oxford and two with over thirty years experience each in the treasure industry.
"We have been impressed with the open water tests and live field tests on the Melbourne Beach Area 2 Ring Site where we have been working under an exploration permit from the Florida Division of Historic Resources (DHR)” explains Kennedy.
Archeologist, Dr. Robert H. Baer, who participated in the underwater drone’s testing, said, “Close examination of the silver plates and flintlock pistol strongly indicate that these artifacts may well serve as diagnostic artifacts that may lead to the identification of the Melbourne Beach shipwreck.”
While the SeaSearcher did not find gold or silver on its initial scan of the Ring Site, it did identify numerous materials including brass, iron, copper, aluminum, lead, and stainless steel.
Kennedy continued, "The SeaSearcher is based on AI machine learning algorithms; the more it's used, the more its learning base grows. The more it learns, combined with known training sets, the more its abilities increase and the more it focuses our efforts towards high-precision, surgical archaeology. So, the process is working."
A new design is on the way
The maker of the SeaSearcher, Seafarer Exploration, announced the construction of the second-generation SeaSearcher platform, which focuses on deeper water and multi-mode exploration.
The upgraded design of the SeaSearcher has a wider path of metal discrimination and 3D imaging while looking more streamlined and rugged. The underwater drone is designed to operate both autonomously or could be towed behind a boat and can operate in high current areas.
The underwater drone integrates sub-bottom imaging, side-scan sonar, precision MEMS differential magnetometer array/direction finder, video recording, and metal discrimination on a single device.
SeaSearcher’s sensors feed back to its control panel to be displayed or processed by the machine learning algorithms. These changes will allow the next-gen SeaSearcher to cover more ground in a shorter time while producing results in real-time.
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