One Melbourne entrepreneur's mission to clean up the world's oceans

One Melbourne entrepreneur's mission to clean up the world's oceans

LUDOVIC Grosjean, founder of Melbourne-based startup OceanXGroup, wants to solve the problem of polluted waterways and oceans.

Grosjean's mission is to clean up the world's waterways with drone technology and, with his unique background as an engineer and oceanographer, he's well placed to tackle the problem. 

"Ocean pollution is major. If you look at the data, by 2050 there would be more plastic in the ocean than fish in the ocean," says Grosjean.

"Last September we discovered that there is pollution everywhere now, even in our food. It's even down where humans have never been. If you go to Marianas Trench, which is the deepest point in the ocean just north of Australia, you can find pollution there. So that's critical."

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean is a floating collection of plastic and trash the size of the US state of Texas.

Also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, this collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean has been formed by phenomenon both man-made and natural in nature.

Thanks to the massive production of plastic goods, and poor recycling efforts, tonnes of rubbish has made its way into the Pacific Ocean, where it has been picked up by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. These wind currents push and pull the ocean into a vortex which has created this mass of garbage in the middle of the ocean which threatens marine life.

Grosjean says there's so much garbage in the ocean that beads of micro-plastics are finding their way into our food and drinks.

His mission, on paper, sounds simple. A horde of drones sent out to the most polluted rivers, beaches, and oceans, tasked with cleaning it all up.

"What could you do if you had a billion drones?" asks Grosjean.

"I believe we could use that technology to make an impact and save lives. If you had an army of drones working together to clean a beach you could make a very massive change in the environment. We could reach a zero-pollution level and that's what I'm targeting."

Gorjean's long term goal is to develop airborne, underwater, and water level drones, powered by artificial intelligence, whose sole purpose is to clean up the world's water pollution.

In the meantime, OceanXGroup is developing its technology, whilst acting as an ocean technology engineering consultancy group and conducting underwater inspections. In 2018 the company is set to hive off into a group of companies to specifically focus on consulting for maritime businesses and help them grow into automation.

Grosjean's plans for the future are still a while off. The company clearly needs a lot of funding to develop its army of water cleaning drones and AI will need to grow into something that he can apply to the drones.

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