Distributed Environmental Exploration Project X
Distributed Environmental Exploration Project X (DEEP-X)

Recent News

The Virginia DEEP-X team advanced to the final round of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition after competing in the semi-final round in Panama City, FL. For more information, see the VT News announcement.

The Challenge

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE challenges teams to develop technology for mapping the deep ocean faster and with more autonomy than is possible with today’s systems.  In the final round of the competition, participants are asked to survey 500 sq. km in 24 hours images of a specified object, and to find and image additional archaeological, biological or geological features.

Our Approach

The Virginia Distributed Environmental Exploration Project X (DEEP-X) is an innovative system for rapid surveys and opportunistic discovery in the deep ocean.  The DEEP-X system is composed of a team of inexpensive autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) that intelligently and collaboratively explore the deep ocean.

The Javelin AUV

Our innovative AUV design is far smaller and therefore far less expensive than any other vehicle capable of performing meaningful survey missions at 4,0000 m depth.  For the first time, it is realistic to consider large teams of AUVs operating collaboratively in the deep ocean.  

DEEP-X Team in Panama City, FL
DEEP-X Team in Panama City, FL

Remarkably, the Javelin AUV can be fabricated at a total cost of $130K, including bathymetric sonar and all professional fabrication services (e.g., foam fabrication, machine shop, etc.), but excluding student labor. 

Javelin AUV

2.92 m (115 inches)
139 kg (307 lbs) 
33.0 cm (13 inches)
100 nm @ 3.7 knots + 24 hours @ 4 knots 
4000 m 

For more information on the Javelin AUV, click here.

The Team

The DEEP-X team is composed of Virginia Tech students and faculty from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department, and the Mechanical Engineering Department.  

From left to right: Dan Stilwell, Jack Webster, Stephen Krauss, and Nick Stinson


We are extremely grateful for the generous contributions from the following sponsors.

Virginia Tech

Huntington Ingalls Industries

Marine Sonic Technology, a brand of Atlas North America

Ping DSP

Get Involved

Support of the DEEP-X team is an excellent opportunity for international exposure with a high ROI.  Sponsors have direct access to uniquely trained students and early access to unique technology. 

Contact Us

Dan Stilwell

Team lead
Virginia Tech
(540) 231-3204

Karin Clark

Associate Director
LINK | Center for Advancing
Industry Partnerships
(540) 267-6598