Pirates, tropical Islands and the alluring azure of the waves – all of us were fascinated by romance of the seas, are not fascinated by stories of adventures, lost treasures and feats of fearless captains? The element that seems so close and familiar, still keeps a lot of secrets and mysteries.
If you seriously ponder the question of what we actually know about the oceans, it appears that 95 percent of the water world still remains unexplored. We have much more accurate data about the surface of the moon, Mars, and mercury than water envelope of our own planet. An acute shortage of various structural maps of the oceans creates a significant barrier for the development of science and business, hinders the creation of effective measures to improve the environment and support aquatic ecosystems.
“the Primary task now is to 2030, the year to fill a database on the bottom of the oceans, to collect new and update outdated information. First and foremost, it is necessary to ensure that the most effective approach to forecasting economic activity, to understand what in General is happening on the planet,” – said General Director of the Russian research company “Maritime Innovation” Anton Pleshkov.
of Course, not to say that we don’t know about the oceans and its inhabitants: the technology of satellite images provide a spatial resolution of about 2-5 km, that is, give a rough idea of the bottom topography, currents, temperature and total water level. “However, this method does not allow to scan the seabed with high resolution, only shallow water tens of meters. All the rest is drawing,” explained Pleshkov.
In many ways, the growing interest of countries and corporations to the development of mapping technologies that allow a more detailed study of the ocean due to commercial factors. The world ocean is not only the habitat of many species and transport hub, but also a place of accumulation of huge volume of various resources, including “fuel the future” of gas hydrates. Their stocks are twice the global reserves of all conventional fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. Despite the fact that currently their production is unprofitable, while further development of the technology, they can become a more effective replacement: for example, from one cubic meter of hydrate can produce about 160 cubic meters of methane.
the oceans are rich in ore and mineral resources, including rare earth metals. Compared to land, it contains six times more Nickel, ten times – cobalt, twice – manganese. The copper reserves make up 80% of inferred resources on the land. An important feature of deep-sea ores is the high percentage of metals of equal or at times pnevoshedshie indicators of terrestrial deposits.
Russia is one of the pioneers in the exploration of deep seabed resources, and licenses the International seabed authority on the extraction of three types – iron-manganese concretions (IMC), deep-sea polymetallic sulphides (SBS) and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts (CMC). “Liabilities for these contracts include the whole cycle of works from exploration to output for industrial production. This is a very promising market, since these nodules contains abnormal concentration of the entire periodic table. Now for the rare earth metals very high demand, and even with the high cost of extraction technologies in the early stages, it will be much more profitable than drilling on land,” – said Advisor to the Minister of natural resources and ecology of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Petrov.
However, to consider more seriously the possibilities for commercial exploitation of these rich resources is impractical until then, until there is an understanding of how to construct the bottom of the ocean and operates its ecosystem as a whole. Gathering accurate information and creating a global monitoring system relevant data is the first step on the way to it.
“One of the most promising development is the creation of digital doubles of water bodies. Using such models, it is possible to track changes in topography, to predict the ecological situation and related risks for fishing or transport, to estimate the amount of currents, their temperature, how they interact with each other and so on”, – said Anton Pleshkov.
According to experts, in addition to the global models, you can also create doubles of smaller objects – for example, systems of river-sea. In practice, such decisions will improve the understanding of logistics processes, the economic turnover of fishermen and organizations involved in mining, to prevent a technogenic catastrophe. For example, having data about the temperature of the currents, it is possible to determine the optimal location for placement of aquafarm knowing wind load – where to put power plants and so on.
“Without the information on a topographic basis we are unable to correctly create the primary model of interaction with the environment,” warned the expert.
it is not Surprising that the energy, mineral and biological resources of the oceans was recognized as a determining factor in achieving sustainable human development goals of the UN in 2015. The eradication of poverty and hunger, improving health and overall well-being, obtaining clean energy, supporting economic growth, responsible consumption, combat climate change and the conservation of marine ecosystems – rethe determination of these ambitious goals is closely linked to the study of the ocean.
“the situation Here is as with fundamental science: not all her doing, someone pay more someone less, but ultimately benefitting all mankind,” said Pleshkov. This is not to say that such studies do not bring concrete, tangible benefits to the state and business: the introduction of a system of integrated data will enable to optimize virtually all types of activity – better account current, making shipping routes, update the navigation and geological map, reduce fuel costs and much more.
“In one of our projects we carried out operations in the Black sea, near Gelendzhik, did the shooting range. In one of the aisles we found no documented wreck, shared experience Pleshkov. – In terms of increasing the coverage of economic activity of the World ocean, such cases will be more. In order to understand where the incident occurred, how to eliminate its consequences, to minimize damage, how to get resources, you need to understand the environment in which we are.”
Science does not stand still, and modern technologies are gradually beginning to open up new opportunities for more high-precision measuring and tracking the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. If in the 1950s and 1960s the accuracy of the depths determined away from 1980-1990 years managed to achieve half-meter resolution systems. Now the standard resolution is measured in decimeters, but there are solutions that allow to obtain centimetre accuracy.
the Most important area of work at the moment was the creation of analytical systems based on artificial intelligence and robotic devices able to collect and transfer the data in offline mode.
“in Order to solve large-scale task of the UN is to explore the entire ocean by the year 2030 – traditional, based on human work and technology analysis is totally inadequate. Here we need intelligent systems that can quickly collect and analyze information,” – said the head of the working group Marinette STI Viktor Olersky.
Such large-scale tasks set by the international community, can be solved through technology, already successfully applied in other industries, says the Director of development and the industrial partners of the it cluster Fund “SKOLKOVO” Sergey Dutov. To do this in July, the Fund “SKOLKOVO” has launched an international program of innovative projects “the Global Challenge – Artificial intelligence for sustainable development”. The program is designed to stimulate demand for the decision of the Russian startups in the field of artificial intelligence.
“large-Scale ��Adachi, formulated by the international community, can be solved through technology, already successfully applied in other industries. That is why we launched the project “Global Challenge” to find solutions in the field of artificial intelligence and their application in various fields, including data analysis and Autonomous systems at sea. Until 27 August, together with “Marine innovations” we accept applications in the nomination “the Conservation of marine ecosystems.” Future directions of competitive selection will be gradually included in the program” ─ said Dutov.
Big data and artificial intelligence – based technology for two key at the moment, trends in Maritime transport: e-Navigation and Autonomous navigation. According to estimates, Viktor Olersky, their application should significantly change the model industry, to enhance its security and predictability while reducing costs associated with delays in formal procedures, human error, directly reduce the cost of operation of the vessel.
the Flagship in the field of large-scale studies of the ocean was the project of the Nippon Foundation and the international cooperation program “the General bathymetric chart of the oceans” (GEBCO), under the auspices of the United Nations Seabed-2030, whose goal was the development of a comprehensive database of the World ocean – including using unmanned swimming apparatus. Today managed to get the measurements of the fifth part of the seabed – a significant increase compared with five percent available prior to the start of the project. About plans on creation of automated underwater base, equipped with AI and robots to explore the seabed, 2018 announced, and China.
Promising Russian project in this area was the MPAK-3D – mobile system for mapping the sea floor on the continental shelf developed in the framework of the road map Marinette STI. The solution integrates several basic technologies of three-dimensional marine geophysical exploration: parametric underwater acoustics, electromagnetics and seismology, technology online processing of big data and build models of DNA, said the Director of the OTS Marinet Alexander Pinsky.
“Each of these elements represents advanced technology, and together they give a qualitatively new level, exceeding not only Russian but also foreign counterparts. In the future we also plan the integration of the MPAK-3D with domestic technologies of high-precision positioning, measurement of the speed of underwater currents and other water column parameters”, – said Pinsky.
it Turns out that the new technological solutions for the study of the oceans is available and can effectively cope with the tasks. Well then, what are caused by the low degree of their implementation and weak interest withon the part of big business? According to Anton Pleshkova, among the major barriers it is necessary to highlight the features of ownership rights to the information, that is, who will it hold and dispose of, as well as the costs of obtaining it. In practice, the most difficult task will be, rather, not data separation between military and civilian needs and not the determination of their rightful owner, and the creation of a single center for staging tasks and storing information, said adviser to the Minister of natural resources and ecology of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Petrov.
“these, of course, should belong to the state because it bears most of the costs. Military for their purposes need a very narrow segment – bathymetry and hydraulics. The main volume of information is regularly presented to the Academy of Sciences where they are free without any restrictions. The problem is that we have no collective center where all this information flowed where it would be possible to analyze Big Data,” – said the representative of the Ministry of environment.
in the meantime, all the data from research expeditions are stored separately and are localized in the institutions in which they are organized, complained Yevgeny Petrov: “From the point of view of task setting in our country lacks a single authority responsible for all forwarding activity. So many expeditions are duplicated, rarely adds new ways to increase their value. Overall, at the moment, the activities of the Ministry of environment, Ministry of industry and trade and Minobrnauki in this direction are very poorly coordinated”.
in Addition to bureaucratic obstacles, there are problems of an industrial nature, not only in shipbuilding, but also for many other high – tech industries- aerospace, aircraft and so on. We are talking about high barriers to entry and the long road from design to operation.
Most modern Maritime mapping tools – sonar. However, according to Pleshkova, the area of civil hydroacoustics is poorly developed, and companies that are developing similar solutions for military purposes in Russia is very small. “This is due to the conservatism of this segment of the market and very high barriers to entrance. In addition to the major requirements for the qualification of personnel is acute and the problem of cooperation between developers and shipbuilding companies,” – said the expert.
the decision To start to work effectively, it must be installed on the ship, and this – pre-designed. The process from design to laying, testing, and output operation takes a very long time. “The most optimistic estimates, the decision will be given the first serial ship made larger Werf��Yu, ten years later. By this time it already runs a cycle of life and, often, obsolete. – said Pleshkov. – If we consider that the minimum life of the ship – 20-30 years, and it must develop its resources, before its upgrade, it becomes obvious why moving fast in this direction is simply impossible”.
Another yet unsolved problem of the industry remains profitability. You can talk about global sustainable development, human well-being and other bright prospects, but the fact remains: the majority of the expenses for introduction and operation of such map-making falls on the owners and entrepreneurs. If to take into account the low level of coverage of Maritime innovation, the cautious attitude of business to the advanced technology of exploring the ocean starts to look quite reasonable.
“to maximize the accuracy of the data on the bottom, it is necessary to introduce new solutions on almost all existing courts which are in the ocean and river systems, not to mention construction. They must make accurate measurements to be cheap enough for mass production and installation, the effective from the point of view of operation – as they say, is foolproof,” said Pleshkov.
Then there should be met three basic conditions: economic efficiency decisions, the desire or the obligation of the shipowner or owner of the vessel for the installation of such systems and, finally, the legislative definition of data processors and other rules of use of the equipment.
There is good news: for example, in terms of storing large amounts of data on Board ships now there are no limits, “as it is the biggest machine in human history”, said Victor Olersky: “they can place the data centers of considerable size that is already doing world’s it giants. A limitation, rather, acts to transfer data from ship to shore through wireless channels. While satellite communication is expensive and not very reliable. However, over the past ten years we have seen a steady improvement in Maritime communications, it is cheaper – for example, the project OneWeb satellite communications”.
the Key technological challenges, said Olersky, you can call the online collection and processing of data, cheaper media research equipment, including Autonomous unmanned vehicles, as well as improving the accuracy of analysis and simulation.
Summing up, it should be noted that no matter how distant seemed the tasks set by the researchers of the World ocean, they directly relate to each: whether breakthroughs in pharmaceuticals, improving the environment, cheaper fuel or access to new types of goods�� and services. The use of the resources of the seabed on the basis of such studies have already today an important commercial value: for about a third of the world’s oil is produced offshore, said Mr. Pinsky.
While Russia is not far behind their foreign counterparts, and in some ways – for example, in the development of sonar technology even ahead. But do not relax. More and more countries connected to the race for the rich resources of the World ocean, engage in development and production of minerals in the deep seabed beyond national jurisdictions. So, fully into the most productive known in ferromanganese nodule area of the World ocean – Clarion-Clipperton in the Pacific ocean.
“Mining is becoming increasingly relevant as the depletion of reserves on land and development of marine technologies that reduce the cost of production in the ocean. Of course, there are a number of not yet solved by anyone of technological applications, from subsea production systems to transport these resources and ensuring environmental safety of production. In the world and in Russia are now conducted the first works in this direction, which scale can form a new sector of the global economy,” concluded Pinsky.