We would like to congratulate one of our senior engineers, Phillip Rhyner, for being a semifinalist in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition. This is a major accomplishment in a worldwide competition for the $7 million dollar prize. The goal is improving deep-sea mapping and exploration tools.
Phill heads up the Orca Robotics team, at the same time he is a senior engineer that designs slurry pumps, dredge systems and unmanned dredge vehicles for EDDY Pump Corp. Phill played a critical component with the electrical, remote operation and hydraulic design of the Subdredge unmanned subsea dredge. This vehicle went on to be featured on Discovery Channels Bering Sea Gold.
His co-worker Kurtis Waddell said, “It’s an honor to work next to such a brilliant mind, even though lunch sometimes takes 3 times as long when Phill dives into talking about his passion project. He is super excited about this endeavor and we know he will be a success”.
The focus of this Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is under sea mapping using autonomous vehicles. Read more about the project at XPRIZE and the recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune featuring Phillip. Phillips alma mater, The University of Rhode Island also did a piece on him Here.
This is a summary of the competition taken from the XPRIZE website.
Teams will compete in two rounds for a total prize of $7 million:
Round 1 testing will be conducted at 2,000 meters depth.
Round 2 testing will be conducted at 4,000 meters depth.
For both rounds, Teams must launch from shore or air and, with restricted human intervention, their entries will have limited number of hours to explore the competition area to produce:
1) a high-resolution bathymetric map
2) images of a specified object
3) identify archeological, biological or geological features
4) track a chemical or biological signal to its source (bonus prize)