In America’s Cup Waters, a Robot Takes On an Invasion of Lionfish

In America’s Cup Waters, a Robot Takes On an Invasion of Lionfish.
The America’s Cup is a technology race as much as a sailboat race.
The British America’s Cup team, Land Rover BAR, and its sustainability sponsor, 11th Hour Racing, are intent on leaving a legacy in Bermuda and have made the lionfish a priority.
Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR’s founder and skipper, has made sustainability part of the conversation in this edition of the Cup.
“It’s something they are really, really concerned about.” This week, a small group of scientists and conservationists, with the financial and promotional help of Land Rover BAR, is deploying a robot prototype in Bermuda designed to stun and capture lionfish at depths that human divers rarely reach.
“It’s an inventive way to try and tackle this issue,” Ainslie said in an interview on Saturday.
“I’m sure it’s going to get developed over time, and I’m sure they’ll make it work.” The robot is the brainchild of a new organization, Robots in Service of the Environment, which was founded in 2015 by Colin Angle and his wife, Erika.
“Here’s a very beautiful creature we can capture and make a positive impact.” The lionfish is increasingly on the menu in restaurants in the United States and the Caribbean, but Ruiz said there was not yet a supply large or consistent enough to create a reliable market.
The robot is being developed by a team of volunteers, including biologists, that is working out of the Boston garage of John Rizzi, RSE’s executive director.
But instead of looking for an I.P.O., we are looking just to raise enough funding for us to get robots out there to make an impact.” The robot is about three and a half feet long and about 20 pounds, Hoffman said.

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