A Decade of Deep Trekker
by Deep Trekker Inc, Canada
Canadian robotics company Deep Trekker is thrilled to be celebrating their tenth anniversary in 2020. Based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Deep Trekker provides users with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), pipe crawlers and utility crawlers for a variety of uses. Over the last decade Deep Trekker has grown from a garage start up with a single ROV to a global company with numerous product lines and vehicles. As Deep Trekker enters their 10th year, they are taking a look back at the last decade of growth and development.
Deep Trekker was born out of a late-night boating incident on Lake Huron. After accidentally dropping a flashlight from her boat, future Deep Trekker President Sam Macdonald remarked that she could really use an underwater robot to go get the lost flashlight. What began as a light-hearted comment eventually led to the start of the innovative submersible robotics company Deep Trekker.
Having grown up around the Great Lakes of Ontario, Canada, Macdonald has always been fascinated by the region's underwater mysteries. An avid diver and shipwreck explorer, Macdonald has long been dedicated to exploring submerged worlds. Combining Macdonald's marketing and business leadership experience with the expertise of engineering partner Jeff Lotz, Deep Trekker was launched to explore market opportunities in the world of underwater remotely operated vehicles.
The original idea was to create an exciting and accessible underwater vehicle for boaters, divers and treasure hunters who would use the robot for underwater exploration. A phone call from an aquaculture buyer in Norway opened up new doors for Macdonald and the Deep Trekker team.
'Early on in Deep Trekker we were contacted by Norwegian fish farms to provide systems that would allow operators to ensure that submerged safeguards and protections were in place,' shared Macdonald. 'This was an exciting moment for us and provided a jumping off point for us to investigate further to find more ways that our ROVs could help.'
It was this initial aquaculture contact that led Deep Trekker into the world of fisheries and fish farming. By using an ROV, farms and fisheries are able to optimise their operations by maximising budgets and minimising time required for work. Deep Trekker's remotely operated vehicle systems provide the aquaculture industry with a reliable way to perform cage inspections, mooring inspections, feeding system inspections, mort removals and more.
'As our population continues to grow, aquaculture can provide countries with large quantities of protein-rich food with perhaps less impact on the environment than other protein sources. Furthermore, the aquaculture industry often plays a key role in emerging economies in providing jobs in both operations and ancillary services,' said Macdonald. 'Like any food-production industry, sustainability and reducing environmental impacts are paramount. Deep Trekker vehicles provide producers with a reliable and convenient way to ensure overall farm safety and wellness.'
With aquaculture specific features, Deep Trekker ROVs allow operators to inspect nets and moorings, observe fish behaviour, monitor feeding systems, conduct water and sediment sampling, retrieve morts and keep an eye on nearby predators. Battery powered and easily portable, Deep Trekker's ROVs provide operators with a versatile and convenient tool.
Now Deep Trekker has grown to serve numerous industries with their submersible robotics, beginning with aquaculture and ocean discovery, and continuing to grow into defense, search and recovery, infrastructure, ocean science, maritime, energy, commercial diving, and municipalities among others.
Selling six different ROVs from three different vehicle lines to more than 80 countries, Deep Trekker has grown immensely from their start up days. 'In the beginning we were literally a garage startup,' said Macdonald. 'We were building our products in my garage and Jeff's basement.' Their aquaculture centric beginnings allowed the company to grow to their current facility in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
ROVs in general have come a long way throughout the years. Over the last decade, Deep Trekker has worked tirelessly to stay on top of ROV and robotic innovations. As Deep Trekker closes in on 10 years of growth and development, it is important to look forward to what the future may bring. With an ear to developing trends in submersible robotics, the Deep Trekker team anticipates growth in terms of autonomous vehicles and crawlers.
Always looking to the future, Deep Trekker is excited for what the next decade will bring. 'We are always looking to continued innovation and advancement,' exclaimed Macdonald. 'I can't wait to see where the next 10 years take both the aquaculture industry and Deep Trekker!'