The 2019 State of Technology Report Issue is Here
Read the latest issue of the Marine Technology Society Journal and journey from the center of the Earth, to the ocean’s deepest depths, to outer space in this year’s MTS Journal State of Technology Report. The ﬁrst piece, by Dr. Alfredo Giron-Nava, the recipient of the inaugural Walter Monk Scholar Award, inspires creativity and offers a refreshing perspective from an early-career professional. Alfredo reminds us that creativity and innovation are sometimes achieved by taking risks and even failing (or what appears to be), citing a couple of examples from the past that have had a tremendous impact on technologies in use today. One speciﬁcally is a project proposed in 1957 to drill to the Earth’s mantle through the ocean ﬂoor. As I write this, an Abu Dhabi record deep offshore well is being drilled that showcases the state of technology—an astonishing distance of over 40,000 feet horizontally and over 23,000 feet vertically (L. M. Smith, Alaskan Energy Resources, Inc., pers. comm., 9/23/2019).
Looking ahead, in the next contribution, Dr. Margaret Leinen introduces the upcoming United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The next ﬁve contributions offer insights and emerging technologies that may combat some of the world’s biggest ocean challenges of the Decade—accumulating plastics in the environment by Dr. Royer and Dr. Deheyn; declining coral reefs by Dr. David Vaughan et al.; diminishing ﬁsh stocks by Cooperhouse et al.; and burgeoning demands for marine mineral resources by
Dr. Alex Barnard, Chair of the MTS Marine Mineral Resources Committee. Next, Dr. Venkatesan et al. discuss best practices for retrieving data from ocean observing networks, which is essential for improving oceanographic services such as weather prediction, ocean state forecast, cyclone tracking, tsunami monitoring, and climate change studies—also important subjects in the future Decade.
The centerpiece of this issue, by Craig Barnett, describes the world’s most extreme ocean exploration tool, its accomplishments, and the technology advances that made it possible. Pictured on the front and back covers of this issue, the Triton 36,000 depth-rated, two-occupancy submersible recently completed a series of dives to the deepest depths of our ﬁve oceans to perform the ﬁrst of its kind research. The deepest dive was recorded at 35,853 feet in Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench.
Following this, DARPA Program Manager John Waterston takes the human out-of-the-loop and invites us to reﬂect on a future maritime autonomy, while Captain Marc Deglinnocenti describes proposed laws to regulate the safe operation of autonomous surface vessels. Mark Stevens continues the autonomy discussion by presenting a new directive of subsea operations that employs resident unmanned vehicles that “live” on the seaﬂoor for extended periods of time. Designing unmanned systems that are inspired by nature is the topic of our next article by Dr. William Sandberg, Co-Chair of the MTS Bio-Inspired Marine Systems Committee. Next, Dr. John Potter offers an arty perspective of artiﬁcial intelligence (AI) and swarming, followed by Dr. Michael Gratton’s view of recent advances in AI and how these may enable more capable unmanned systems.
Finally, the last series of contributions discuss emerging, disruptive technologies. Though quantum-based technologies may seem far-fetched at this time, Marco Lanzagorta and Jeffrey Uhlmann provide an overview of quantum theory and examine how quantum technologies may well afford signiﬁcant beneﬁts to computing, sensing, and securing communications in the maritime domain. Next, Steven Halford reviews the evolution of 5G, which may soon be the game-changer that enables autonomy at sea. Because of 5G’s low latency and high bandwidth, drones that have access to 5G can ofﬂoad data to the cloud where the intelligence and processing capability reside. To ﬁnish, Dr. Marie Colton and Jonathan Malay provide both a reﬂective and forward-looking view of satellite oceanography. There’s no doubt that the rapid growth of the small satellite market will enable mission solutions that create tremendous opportunities in the maritime domain.
I wish to thank the authors for responding to our call for new and emerging technologies to round out last year’s State of Technology Report (Vol. 52, No. 5). As you read the articles in this report, I hope you will be as inspired as I am and that you enjoy the Journey!
Author Donna Kocak, MTS Immediate Past President, Marine Technology Society