To learn, understand and share knowledge: ABYSSA's philosophy
Oceanography is a science that encompasses different technical, scientific, environmental, economic and social science disciplines to study the marine world, much as Geography does for the study of the Earth.
Our desire to make it the focus of our business activities is based on the exciting realisation that even now, in the 21st century, most of the world’s oceans are still unknown territory, especially the very deepest reaches of the seabed, over 2000 m below the surface, which cover over half our planet.
The depths of our oceans are increasingly arousing interest for the wealth of biological, mineral and energy resources they may contain. To meet very real needs, while trying to avoid the errors of the past and the over-exploitation of natural resources, we need to acquire knowledge that can be used to inform more intelligent decision-making for the future.
Based on this growing awareness and faced with the immensity of the deep ocean regions that have yet to be explored, the associates and founders of ABYSSA are keen to develop a concept of extensive, non-intrusive exploration, with an eye on costs, by making our fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) available for surveying the deep ocean. The “MESSIDOR fleet”, an inspired and disruptive project that won the Bpifrance Concours Mondial de l’Innovation (World Innovation Challenge) in 2014 and 2015, will initially be deployed to search for inactive sulphide deposits in the deep seabed by tracking their specific magnetic signature.
For maritime regions and island states, our surveys will be key in drawing up the inventory of their sub-sea heritage. Whether they wish to protect and create sanctuaries in the form of marine reservations or decide to exploit some of the wealth of biological and mineral resources to be found, the first step is to understand the environment in depth: without such knowledge, it is impossible to take environmental sensitivities into consideration. Furthermore, the public authorities need decision-aid tools to deal with the issues for which civil society, and industrial players, hold them accountable. How can they take well-founded decisions if they know nothing of the heritage, oceanography or environmental characteristics at stake? If the authorities make uninformed decisions that are not based on scientific fact, this can cause untold damage, and such decisions are likely to be contested by opposing interests.
The same applies to industrial players whose projects must not be allowed to go ahead without serious consideration of all the environmental issues at stake. Such issues can be extremely restrictive, and must, therefore, be substantiated on the basis of factual data resulting from technical and scientific studies. In addition, certain biological and genetic resources may prove invaluable in the medical field, while some mineral resources are already of interest for strategic metals needed to drive energy and digital transition.
Thanks to current technology and constant advances being made in the field of Research, Development and Innovation, we feel it is essential to develop initiatives aimed at acquiring new knowledge of these vast ocean expanses. Exploring the deep seabed is the first step toward understanding how our climate works and developing appropriate decision-aid tools.