ABYSSA, the experts in deep seabed exploration

ABYSSA provides services primarily for governments and public authorities that wish to understand the deep underwater heritage for which they are responsible, as well as for industrial players requiring information on marine resources and the environmental constraints that they must take into account.

A promising start

ABYSSA was set up as the result of a scientific project (the MESSIDOR/MELODI project that ran from 2014 to 2018), supported by Bpifrance as winner of the Concours Mondial Innovation (World Innovation Challenge), and which aimed to deploy a fleet of AUVs for detecting Seafloor Massive Sulphide (one of the three major mineral resources to be found in the deep seabed).

Since being set up, ABYSSA has found support from a number of institutions, organisations and partners, including: the Vice-Presidency of French Polynesia, the government of New Caledonia, France’s General Secretariat for the Sea (SG Mer), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ifremer, the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), the French Maritime Cluster, the French Marine Industry Group (GICAN), TechnipFMC, and the Deep Sea Mining Alliance (DSMA).

Our vision and the challenges ahead

In exploring the deep seabed, ABYSSA wants to address various challenges:

  • A scientific challenge, since so little is known about deep ocean environments;
  • An economic and strategic challenge, since the deep seabed harbours potential geological, biological and renewable energy resources;
  • A technological challenge, since such precise exploratory and mapping surveys imply the use of highly-specialised, cutting-edge technology.

Deploying AUVs to explore the deep seabed is a way to build up our knowledge of these environments which have barely, if ever, been explored, yet is a fundamental prerequisite for understanding and protecting these environments.

What we do

We explore the deep ocean (down to 6000 m) using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) to carry out high-resolution seabed mapping.
Mapping surveys performed for private- or public-sector clients provide technical data (bathymetric data, seabed characterisation, currents, etc.) and environmental data (habitat and environmental sensitivity, geodiversity and biodiversity inventory) for applications ranging from marine heritage inventory to industrial projects.

In addition to this operational component, ABYSSA also provides advice and data analysis services. Prior to launching any exploration, ABYSSA works with the client to specify the objectives and content of the exploration campaign. Together with the ABYSSA scientific team, we also carry out analysis and interpretation of the data collected.
Given the current lack of knowledge about the deep ocean environment, this data is essential for making informed decisions.