Self-driving robot boats and submarines are going to be used more and more to study the ocean floor and help save the planet.
The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE brought together scientists and engineers from around the world to come up with the best technology to help map the seabed.
To date, more than 80% of the world’s oceans are unmapped, which is a problem as the shape of the seabed affects things like ocean currants and the distribution of marine life.
Knowing more about ocean floor topography could help us clearer understand climate change, prevent natural disasters from destroying homes and give us a better guide to the variety of sea-life beneath the waves.
The next phase of sea trials for the unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) was to begin last October, but hurricanes Irma and Maria has forced the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to change its plans.