Technology 3 min read

China Plans To Build World’s First Underwater Base Using AI

Using robot submarines, China plans on creating the world's first underwater base run entirely by AI. ¦ Image via Liu Shiping/Xinhua/Eyevine

Using robot submarines, China plans on creating the world's first underwater base run entirely by AI. ¦ Image via Liu Shiping/Xinhua/Eyevine

In November of 2018, the South China Morning Post reported that researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences intend to construct an underwater base in the South China Sea.

According to the report, not only would the base be populated with AI robots, but the machines are expected to run it autonomously. Aside from this information, most elements of the project have remained under wraps – until now.

Now, details are emerging about what could be the world’s first Artificial Intelligence colony.

With access to prototypes and scientific documents, New Scientists created a picture of what to expect. And as far as we can tell, it’ll leave human oceanographers on the surface.

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Instead of humans, reports reveal that underwater bots from the base would conduct research. Not only is this a bold approach to sea exploration, but it could also help scientists reach uncharted depths of the ocean.

According to New Scientists, several Chinese prototypes feature robot submarines. It’s expected that the autonomous machines will go on exploratory missions every other day, and only return to the docking station to recharge.

Also, the base will collect samples of microorganisms around it, conducting scientific work of its own. This raises the issue of energy.

How do the scientists intend to power the base’s activities?

Since the underwater station would probably be too deep in the sea, sunlight may not reach it. In other words, solar power is not an option. That means, the researchers may decide to power the base through a cable connecting to the surface.

One essential advantage of having a permanent underwater base, according to the New Scientist, is data collection.

The autonomous subs can map how the ocean changes over time using data from underwater ecosystems, including geology. This could lead to considerable advancements in undersea oil and mineral extraction.

There’s just one other lingering question; where does China intend to build the underwater base?

Since the Chinese Academy of Sciences is yet to make this information public, the potential location of the base is still unclear at the moment. However, several speculations point to the Okinawa trough or Manila Trench.

Wherever the location may be, one thing is clear; scientists from across the world are excited about the project. Speaking to the New Scientist, professor of ocean exploration at the University of Southampton, Jon Copley said;

“The ocean covers most of our planet, and what happens there affects us all … anywhere in deep water could be interesting for science.”

Read More: China Plans to Launch its First Mars Rover Next Year

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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