Ocean of Things: Affordable Maritime Sensors with Scalable Analysis

John Waterston, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Strategic Technology Offic, Arlington, VA, United States
DARPA's Ocean of Things (OoT) program enables persistent maritime situational awareness over large ocean areas by deploying thousands of low-cost, intelligent floats that drift as a distributed sensor network. Each float manages a suite of commercially available sensors to collect environmental data such as sea surface temperature, sea state, and location as well as activity data about vessels and marine mammals moving across the ocean. The floats periodically transmit processed data, or immediately report events based on internal prioritization schemes. Messages travel via commercial satellite to a government cloud for storage and real-time analysis. Cloud-based data analytics feature machine learning aimed at discovering emergent features and behaviors from sparse data. The multiple performers manufacturing floats and developing software are being led by a government management team to employ commercial design methodology and agile best practices. At-sea float deployments are planned in two phases over 2019 (1-month) and 2020 (3-month). Program benefits include ocean environmental products derived from high-density, in-situ measurements and analytical applications, which can simultaneously provide users a range of outputs to include ocean circulation prediction, vessel and marine mammal tracking, and dynamic ocean resource management.