Saildrone Named to Fast Company’s Annual List of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022

Saildrone joins the ranks of SpaceX, Microsoft, Canva, and others whose efforts are reshaping business, industry, and the broader culture.

Saildrone is proud to be included on Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022. This year’s list honors businesses that are making the biggest impact on their industries and culture as a whole—ultimately thriving in today’s ever-changing world. The companies included are creating the future today with some of the most inspiring accomplishments of the 21st century. 

“It is such an honor to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022,” said Richard Jenkins, founder and CEO of Saildrone. “We have an amazing team at Saildrone, the world’s very best software and hardware engineers, data scientists, and operations crew. Every one of our team members are dedicated to making a positive impact in the world. I am incredibly proud of them all.”

Saildrone is one of Fast Company’s 10 most innovative companies in data science “unlocking the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.”

Since our first science mission in the Arctic in 2015, Saildrone has worked tirelessly to accurately measure climate-quality data from Earth’s most remote oceans and deliver that data to scientists all over the world. With comprehensive turnkey solutions for ocean data,, mapping, and maritime security, Saildrone provides real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365. Data is collected by the our fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered primarily by renewable wind and solar power giving them a minimal carbon footprint, designed to make ocean intelligence cost-effective at scale. 

Saildrone vehicles have performed several “world firsts”: The first uncrewed vehicle to sail from San Francisco to Hawaii in October 2013, the first uncrewed vehicle to cross the Atlantic in July 2019 (and back to Rhode Island later that summer), the first uncrewed vehicle to circumnavigate Antarctica in August in 2019, and the first uncrewed bathymetric survey from San Francisco to Hawaii in July 2021.

In September 2021, in another world first, Saildrone successfully sent a 23-foot Saildrone Explorer into the eye of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, taking scientific measurements and high-resolution video that could transform our understanding of hurricane forecasting. The accomplishment demonstrated beyond doubt the resiliency of the Saildrone platform in the most extreme ocean environments on the planet. 

As the most capable and proven USVs available, Saildrone Explorers have sailed over 750,000 nautical miles from the Arctic to the Antarctic and spent more than 17,000 days at sea on ocean data collection missions. Over the past 18 months, we have expanded our technology to address new market needs including lifecycle solutions for offshore wind farms, ocean mapping, and maritime security. 

Saildrone possesses the largest data set of images of the open ocean. Saildrone USVs have already sailed more than 750,000 nautical miles from the Arctic to the Antarctic, spending more than 17,000 days at sea. The Saildrone fleet collects images every five seconds. Tens of millions of images have been collected and annotated with human analysis highlighting anything of interest—ships, fishing boats, birds, icebergs, and more. 

With this enormous data set, Saildrone developed a proprietary machine learning model to automatically recognize and classify objects in real time. Saildrone’s masthead 360° optical camera system combined with the ML model running onboard GPU compute processors deliver real-time maritime domain awareness (MDA), visual detection of vessels that may not be transmitting their position.

The Saildrone MDA USVs are specifically designed to meet security challenges at sea including the challenges of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, maritime safety, drug interdiction and ecosystem monitoring missions.

The 72-foot (22 m) Saildrone Surveyor, launched in January 2021, is the only autonomous platform capable of performing International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)-compliant bathymetry surveys to depths of 23,000 ft (7,000 m). The newest model in the fleet, the 33-foot (10 m) Saildrone Voyager carries an impressive payload for high-resolution ocean mapping, as well as acoustic and atmospheric ocean data and maritime security payloads.

Saildrone is located in Alameda, California, just across the bay from San Francisco, in a hangar on the former Naval Air Station Alameda. Saildrone’s Ocean Mapping Headquarters is in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a government outreach team based in Washington, DC.

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