Inventors: Casey Machado, Timothy Shank
Overview: The deepest trenches of the ocean- known as the Hadal Zone- remain largely unexplored due to the lack of vehicles capable of such depths. While there are have been immense technological advancements in marine robotics in the last decade, AUVs are typically costly and depth-limited. These limitations created an opportunity to develop an AUV capable of reaching the Hadal Zone.
Technology: A lightweight, cost-effective, deep ocean AUV designed for use in the Hadal Zone and for simple replication at scale. Designed in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and equipped with cameras, Orpheus can travel to the deepest parts of the ocean. The vehicle has a depth rating of 11,000 meters (36,000 ft), weights 250 kg (550 lbs.), and is 68"L X 40"W X 51"H. It includes visual terrain-relative navigation through the use of four cameras, non-disruptive seafloor landing and sampling, and a modular science payload bay.