US: The X Prize Foundation has recently launched a global competition, aimed at exploring and mapping the depths of the ocean floor. The $7 million Shell Ocean Discovery X Prize challenges teams of entrepreneurs to create new, low-cost technologies that can conduct high-resolution mapping, identify various deep-sea features and objects, and track chemical and biological signatures up to 2.5 miles below the ocean's surface.
As part of the total $7 million prize purse, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is offering a $1 million bonus prize to teams that demonstrate their technology can “sniff out” a specified object in the ocean through biological and chemical signals. The three-year competition includes nine months for team registration, 12 months for initial solution development and 18 months to complete two rounds of testing and judging by an expert panel. In each round, teams will complete a series of tasks, including making a bathymetric map (a map of the sea floor), producing high-resolution images of a specific object, and identifying archeological, biological or geological features. The participating teams are expected to show resiliency and durability by proving they can operate their technologies, deployed from the shore or air, at a depth of up to 4,000 meters.
Source: X Prize