PORT OF LOS ANGELES – Calm waters near the docks at the Port of Los Angeles have become a gateway for startups like Rustom Jehangir’s Blue Robotics to test out their remotely operated vehicles and underwater drones like their BlueROV2.
Jehangir’s company is one of many that’s headed underwater for a chance to be part of the future ocean or blue economy that’s not stopping for COVID-19.
“People often say that robots are really good at dull, dangerous, and dirty things and this is definitely the case. There’s lots of underwater applications that are dull, dirty or dangerous. This can protect divers or just keep a better eye on them,” Jehangir said.
Before any COVID restrictions were in place, Jehangir moved his company into the AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles — a 185,000 sq. ft. warehouse space docked on the harbor for start up businesses in this industry to share ideas, data and inspiration for the future of ocean sustainability.
“This industry only has room to grow right now, there’s so many opportunities in the ocean and there’s so much interest in doing things better in the ocean, taking better care of it, understanding,” Jehangir said.
Jehangir said his new ocean front location led him to meet and collaborate with other companies in the industry. And even with COVID-19 restrictions, Blue Robotics adapted and was able to keep employees on board, some even saw raises. According to a recent study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, the global ocean economy is forecast to become a $3 trillion industry in the next decade and L.A. County’s part in it could create more than 120,000 jobs by 2023.
"The blue economy is a rapidly growing segment of our economy and it is looking for space and it does not have a home, and we think Los Angeles and especially the Ports of Long Beach and L.A. are a perfect place for the blue economy to grow,” Tim McOsker, CEO of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles said.
Jehangir is excited to ramp up testing efforts in the water as COVID-19 restrictions are lifting.
“This is just a fantastic place to be as a marine robotics entrepreneur because it brings together the water with warehouse space and office space and the ability to meet and collaborate with a lot of unique companies,” Jehangir said.
Now, he’s hoping this space will help his company get a first glimpse at what the future holds for underwater exploration and ocean sustainability.