On the left, an Open Ocean Robotics boat skims the water's surface. On the right, a picture of William and Kate.

Photo Credit: Open Oceans Robotics / Mike. W | Flickr

The Royals Get a Demo of Cutting-Edge VanIsle Tech

Kate and William cast off on virtual tour

Open Oceans Robotics shows off its marine-life saving solar boats

VanIsle companies are breaking ground when it comes to innovation.

So much so, they’re getting royal recognition.

The CEO of Open Oceans Robotics, Julie Angus, attended the Earthshot Prize Awards at Greentown Labs in Boston.

She was demonstrating the company’s new self-steering boats and got to explain to Princess Kate and Prince William the benefits they can bring to our coastal waters.

“They were very interested in understanding how our vessels can help protect oceans and help industries operate more sustainably on them,” said Angus to Comox Valley Now.

The company’s self-controlled boats are completely solar-powered and can cruise the ocean for weeks or even months.

Boats that are operated by humans and fuelled by gas need to dock now and again. But these boats don’t need to do that, so they can carry out long-term research on ocean creatures like Southern Resident Killer Whales.

They can also monitor ocean conditions, conduct research, and report everything back in real time via a data link.

The robotic vessels also watch for boats involved in illegal fishing.

In a 7-minute demonstration, Angus showed the Prince and Princess just what the boats can do. She deftly manoeuvred it around Victoria’s harbour from Boston, all while live-streaming images of the beautiful city.

Open Ocean Robotics was selected to present based on their work with Vineyard Winds and Greentown Labs, which study the impact of offshore wind farms on whales.

Greentown Labs in Boston and the UK Consulate felt its technology perfectly represented the Earthshot Awards theme of protecting life underwater.

The Earthshot Prize was launched in 2020 by Prince William and David Attenborough.

Winners are selected by both of them, along with the rest of the Earthshot Prize Council.

This wouldn’t be the first prize Open Oceans Robotics has won. They won Campbell River’s NexStream 2.0 Wild Card Challenge in July of 2021.

Whether they win or not, they’ve certainly already gotten some royal approval.