Platypus’ Robotic Boats Monitor Inland Waterways
What is in and under our water supplies is largely unknown. Fixed sensors at inlet and outlets are common, but only cover a small fraction of what’s happening in our waterways and drinking water supplies.
“A man in a boat, with a stick can measure depth and other attributes using sensors, but that’s slow and expensive,” said Platypus Chief Operations Officer Dan Seitam. “Bottom line, there is data everywhere, but that must be transformed into actionable information.”
Platypus is a Carnegie Mellon University spinout started in Pittsburgh to develop and sell a water analytics service, Aquatical™, that utilizes cooperative robotic boats to acquire multiple data about inland bodies of water. The Aquatical offering comprises two components — Aquatical Analytics Platform™ and Aquatical Robotic Boats™ used to perform the data acquisition and are sensor agnostic (array configured to any application).
Aquatical Boats collect the data and the Aquatical Analytics platform transforms the raw data into actionable knowledge about our inland waterways and enables the stewards of our water supply to make informed, targeted action to ensure the health and safety of those water supplies, according to Seitam.
He noted that here are nearly 3 million square miles of inland lakes and rivers, covering ~4% of the Earth’s surface. The cost of not knowing what’s in and under our waterways is enormous – $1.2T in lost business revenue; 440,000 lost jobs; $784B in lost GDP.
“Autonomous robotic boats, working together, are an order of magnitude faster and less expensive than current manual and RC solutions,” said Seitam. “In fact, in good conditions, Platypus can provide spatially dense data at a fraction of the costs of competing solutions, human or automated.
“There are times when a standard survey option can’t meet the requirements of a specific application. For those applications and environments that are unique and require custom solutions, Platypus Professional Services designs and conducts surveys that specifically address the needs of a custom application.”
Platypus assembles its boats in western Pennsylvania, using custom hulls provided by a local supplier and off-the-shelf components, integrated with its proprietary embedded software. The boats have been optimized for both performance and cost to enable a commercially viable Robotics as a Service Offering business model.
Platypus sells direct, internally and through agents, and is implementing relationships with entrenched engineering firms and robotics firms that deploy complementary products and services that are / will be reselling the Platypus service and analytics capabilities as a part of their broader consulting services.
“Platypus is at the forefront of utilizing predictive analytics and robotics to helps us to better understand our inland waterways, and how those water supplies can be safer and healthier,” said Seitam. The company is now starting to build out its internal team, accelerate customer acquisition and advance Aquatical Analytics™ to the level of the premier modeling system for inland water analytics.
Platypus assembles its boats in western Pennsylvania, using custom hulls provided by a local supplier and off-the-shelf components, integrated with its proprietary embedded software.