Impossible Metals Announces Successful Deep-Water Test of Eureka II Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) for Deep Sea Minerals Harvesting

14 May 2024

Impossible Metals announced fully autonomous deep-water operations at a depth of one mile by its Eureka II AUV.

This historic test represents the first ever deep-water dive by an autonomous vehicle designed specifically for deep sea mineral harvesting. This architecture is a significant departure from traditional dredging tractor and riser pump technology, developed decades ago. The Eureka architecture leverages advances in robotics, computer vision and AI to enable an environmentally responsible and highly economic approach to this new industry.

“After successful autonomous collection of rocks late last year, we have now proven autonomous navigation capability of Eureka II in the deep ocean off Florida,” said Oliver Gunasekara, CEO & Co-Founder of Impossible Metals. “We plan to test Eureka III, our production-sized system, next year.”

With the successful deep ocean test of Eureka II, Impossible Metals has now demonstrated the deep water operation capability and the collection capability of this deep-sea harvesting technology. This style of deep-sea technology surpasses the limitations of traditional architectures. Key, novel features, of the Impossible Metals approach are:

  • Environmentally conscious, leveraging selective harvesting by using AI to avoid disturbing detected life on the nodules and by hovering above the seabed to minimize sediment disturbance.
  • No single points of failure with an untethered fleet of Eureka III AUVs each with redundant components.
  • The elimination of the need for ship-to-ship transfer of nodules, a process that has yet to be tested in the ocean.
  • Scalable, for large-scale operations and designed to handle millions of tons of minerals annually with a fleet of Eureka III AUVs.
  • Significantly less cost: a dedicated mining vessel is not required.

Justin Manley, a leading AUV expert and advisor, emphasizes the company's rapid progress, “In just two years, Impossible Metals has developed two highly functional AUVs. This rapid innovation demonstrates the capabilities of the Impossible Metals team.”