Canadian Gov Invests in Open Ocean Robotics to Protect Marine Life

Working in partnership with innovative companies, the Government of Canada is supporting the growth of a greener economy.

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced an investment of $2.8 million in Victoria, British Colombia-based Open Ocean Robotics through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). This is the second SDTC investment in Open Ocean Robotics (OOR) and part of a continuing collaboration that is helping the company advance its cleantech solution for gathering ocean data and protecting the marine environment.

OOR is a graduate of SDTC’s Seed Fund for early-stage entrepreneurs who have gained solid ground and are ready to scale up. The company used previous funding to build one of its first solar-powered uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) prototypes. Its USVs are designed to monitor and protect marine environments for months without producing greenhouse gas emissions. They capture vital data to help conserve marine biodiversity, prevent overfishing and other threats to ocean health and better understand the impacts of climate change.

OOR will use the latest SDTC investment to advance its SeaSense initiative, which aims to protect the marine environment with the newest generation of zero-emission autonomous vessels, artificial intelligence and advanced sensors.

SDTC is an independent national foundation that funds companies with the potential to become world leaders in environmental technologies. Since 2001, SDTC has invested more than $1.38 billion in 460 companies that have generated $2.8 billion in annual revenues, created 16,930 jobs, brought 177 new technologies to market and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22.4 megatonnes of CO2 annually, which is equivalent to taking almost 7 million cars off the road every year.

In December 2020, the Government of Canada announced A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, Canada’s strengthened climate plan, which has increased support for SDTC with an additional $750 million over five years, representing the single largest Government of Canada investment in SDTC since its inception in 2001.