The Japanese government plans to draw up guidelines for underwater drones by fiscal 2020, reflecting the need for rules to prevent accidents as the use of such vehicles by the private sector is expected to increase, according to sources. Underwater drones, also called unmanned submarines, are used for such purposes as checking offshore wind power plants and underwater pipelines. The vehicles, with electric motors, move under preset programs, collect data and send it to mother ships and base stations through communications using light or sound waves. Underwater drones are also utilized for collecting data on seabeds and their geological features. There are remote-controlled models as well.
Data centres are now going under water. Tech giant Microsoft says it is leveraging technology from submarines and working with marine energy firms to develop a breed of submersible data centres that can offer cloud services to coastal cities. Microsoft said in a blog post that as part of Project Natick, it is currently testing the self-sufficient data centres via a shipping container-sized model that is currently processing workloads while sitting on the coast of Scotland's Orkney Islands. The Northern Isles data centre is 40-feet long, contains 12 racks of servers amounting to 864 units, and comes designed with its own cooling solution. "The data centre was assembled and tested in France and shipped on a flatbed truck to Scotland where it was attached to a ballast-filled triangular base for deployment on the seabed," Microsoft said in the blog post. The company said that the deployment of the Northern Isles data centre at the European Marine Energy Centre is indication that one day, such data centres can be custom-ordered in sizes and easily deployed.
We've discovered thousands of previously uncharted underwater mountains, which are also known as seamounts. They are included in the most detailed map of the ocean floor ever produced. The seamounts were compiled by a team led by David Sandwell and Brook Tozer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Their new topographical map has uncovered more than five thousand seamounts and possibly as many as ten thousand. The exact number still need to be confirmed, as they have not been counted individually yet.