Innovation through ocean visualization|電経新聞

Innovation through ocean visualization


Interest in the ocean is increasing.
As everyone knows, Japan is a maritime nation. Including the area of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the total area is approximately 4.47 million square kilometers, which is approximately 12 times larger than the national land area of 380,000 square kilometers. It is the 6th largest city in the world. Japan has long been considered a country lacking in natural resources, but if it were able to discover useful undersea resources within its territorial waters, it would not be just a pipe dream for Japan to suddenly become a resource-rich nation.

Japanese government is also aware of this and formulated the 4th Basic Ocean Policy Plan in April last year. With the pillars of “comprehensive maritime security” and “building a sustainable ocean,” we will “promote the industrial use of the ocean,” “enhance scientific knowledge,” “promote digital transformation in the ocean,” “promote Arctic policy,” and Seven items were identified as areas that should be steadily promoted: international collaboration and cooperation, nurturing and securing maritime human resources and promoting public understanding, and infectious disease control.
Interest in the ocean is not only increasing from the perspective of national strength and national interests. It is also attracting a lot of attention from an environmental perspective.
Due to the effects of global warming, marine heat waves are rapidly progressing in the oceans around Japan, and the environment is beginning to undergo major changes. The impact is particularly noticeable in the fisheries industry. For example, the catch of pufferfish in Hokkaido has rapidly increased and now boasts the largest catch in Japan. This is a drastic change considering that 10 years ago it was ranked around 20th in the nation. Additionally, in Shizuoka Prefecture, the number of scorpionfish landed has increased rapidly in recent years. Takasago is the prefectural fish of Okinawa Prefecture, but it seems that catches are increasing off the coast of Izu. Meanwhile, in Hokkaido, the catch of salmon and saury has plummeted, and in Shizuoka, the catch of spiny lobster and whitebait has plummeted.

How should Japan, as a maritime nation, deal with changes in the marine environment?
What is being focused on is ” promotion of DX in the ocean” as outlined in the 4th Basic Plan on Ocean Policy. The approach is to visualize the ocean using DX to learn the details of the incident and respond appropriately.
The number of domestic companies promoting marine DX is increasing, and new innovations are beginning to emerge. For example, the domestic venture Trimatis is focusing on developing products and services that apply underwater optical wireless communication technology. Currently, ” ALAN Consortium”, which was launched mainly by the company, is also being developed.

The consortium regards the ” underwater world (Aqua)” as a ” LAN environment,” and is working to lead the world in underwater optical technology.
Yuji Shimada, representative of the consortium and president of Trimatis, said,” We have originally advocated that light can be used underwater, but it is difficult to use light alone, so we are now using the characteristics of sound waves, low frequencies, electromagnetic waves, etc. “We are thinking of making it compatible with all kinds of underwater environments.”

Aquajust was also born as a new venture from the same consortium. Aquajust focuses on building wireless robotics systems centered on WARSsaS (Wireless Aqua Robot System as a Service). For example, the plan is to conduct offshore wind power maintenance and ship bottom inspections using the robot “AquadROBO,” which utilizes advanced self-position estimation technology.
The ocean is sometimes referred to as “the last remaining unknown frontier.” I have a feeling that as marine DX advances, unimaginable discoveries and innovations will emerge.