The oyster drone ship automation process.
After obtaining information from the big data system, the mothership will automatically insert oyster larves into the drone ships' oyster cages. Each drone ship is capable to hold 4 oyster cages.
Then the drone ships will separate from the mothership, and begin to position themselves to the computer-calculated location for the highest farming efficiency.
After reaching the location, the drone ships will start lowering the 4 individual oyster cages with oyster larves inside, by the oyster cage elevator.
During the oyster nurturing process, water quality and the oyster weights will be monitored by sensors on the drone ship, and the data will then be transmitted to the mothership. Meanwhile, data from mothership will then be transmitted again back on shore and uploaded to the big data system. The fishermen can easily access data and information for the most updated situation for their oyster farms.
When the oysters grow large enough, the drone ship will then be travelling back to the mothership. The cages will be raised up above the sea water level in order for the drone ship to travel with less drag.
The mothership then will lift up the oyster cages and harvest the oysters inside. The harvested oysters can be transported back to the shore by drone ships without the oyster cages.
What is/are the problem/s your design is addressing?
Oyster farmers get help as harvests dwindle and shellfish shrink
The Nature Conservancy starts gathering data to help oyster farmers figure out host of problems.
The article above is the introduction of the current Lau Fau Shan oyster farming situation.
The oyster farming community has been struggling with the drop of oyster quality by the pollutions and overcrowding issue in Lau Fau Shan, along with the labor shortages due to the recent pandemic situation restricting China fishermen crossing the HK border. These factors lead to a income drop for the fishermen.
Hong Kong Oyster farmers need to find a new solution for tackling the lack of labor problem, especially when younger generations are not willing to join the industry due to the labor intensive work.
Can you imagine yourself siting in the office far away from shore and able to monitor the process of oyster farming remotely and let the machines and big data system on the internet do the work and analysis for you? Allowing you the find the best spot to farm oyster while getting the best water quality and not being overcrowding the water district?
Well, now here's the chance! By this design proposal, my aim is to have a oyster farming fleet system, containing both a mothership and several (around 8) drone ships, each drone ship will contain sensors and GPS system which can transmit data such as the salinity, nutrients and water pollution levels to the mothership. The data will be then transmitted and uploaded to the internet big data system, calculating whether farming at the current water district will be beneficial to the farmers. The big data system will also be used by other motherships and drone ships, creating a data network mapping out the ideal locations for oyster farming.
The automation process of how to farm oyster will be explained along with the diagrams above, please scroll up for more details.
What question/s is your design investigating?
- What if oyster farmers are not required to visit the oyster farm, by machine automation, they can monitor and control the entire process on shore?
- What if the oyster fleet can map out water quality data throughout the year and upload to the big data system on the internet?
How does your design aim to positively impact the oyster farming community?
- "The Oyster Fleet System" is investigating how to make this industry more automated, shifting the fishermen's role in the industry.
- The design also aim to map out the water quality data around different water districts.
Research Notes & Sketches
Research & Development
- What is it? What does it do? The design is a remote system with a mothership and drone concept, where the fishermen can use the mothership as a dock in the oyster farming district, and deploy their drones for farming oysters.
- What are the questions this work is asking? What new knowledge are you creating?
- How are you going to test your assumptions?
- How to maintain your device? Replace and check the components
- What do you think are the strongest and the weakest points in your project now?
- What construction technique are you using? MiC modules and prefab parts
- Who uses it? Can you draw a particular user? Can you describe to me that user, how they look, your assumption on their backgrounds, abilities, preferences, and what drives them? The fishermen/ investors can purchase and own the drones to be deployed from the mothership and use it as a farming monitor and tool, they dont need to be physically involved/ have much knowledge on the handling processs as the mothership will handle all the transportation and selling by machines automation.
- What are the benefits users can get from the device? They don't need to be physically within the oyster farm in order to maintain its running.
- What problems does your design cause? The cost can be higher than traditional rafts.
- How do you operate and maintain this installation? The system will record and report the issues related to the system, drones will return back to the mothership if problem occurs.
- How do people get on board? People get on board rarely, unless requiring specific maintenance, they get on the mothership by a transfer boat.
- How much weight can you carry? Each drone can carry around 4 oyster cages, each is around 2-3 times of the traditional oyster cage.
- How to maximum efficiency and convenience for the user? Since the user will not be on the oyster farm, and they can monitor the whole automatic system with ease on shore.
- Are there simpler ways to achieve the objective? Another simpler way is the install modifications on the current oyster rafts, allowing it to be moved to a specific harvesting location for fishermen to harvest.
- Are there other possible use for clean seawater filtered by oysters?
- How long will it be in the water? Around 1-2 years until the oyster is fully grown.
Health & Safety
- Is it stable? Safe? ship survivability？The buoyancy will be balanced out by the floating platoons. The ship will be automatically sailing back to the typhoon shelter when extreme weather occurs.
- Is the device safe and environmental friendly to the ocean. Yes the mothership and drone ship are equipped with environmental friendly materials and to ensure no extra components and plastics will fall out during the oyster farming process.
Materials, process, scale
- What is the scale and materials? Where and how is it built? Where do the materials come from? Where do the materials go after it’s used/broken? Separate stage of construction, off shore for platform, on sea for upper and underwater structures.
- What materials would you use? Where do you source it? Once used, where does it go? Metal, and floating platoons. Source them from recycled sources. Once used, they will be recycled.
- is it recyclable？Yes, components can be replaced during maintenance and be taken out for recycling
- How long does the project take to be complete: build, bring on site and board? The structure estimated to build on shore around 3-5 days. The underwater part is modular and can be installed underwater by divers in around 2-3 days. Above water part can be installed around 2-3 days. Both underwater and above water can proceed at the same time. Meanwhile, drone ships are modular designed and can be installed on the mothership with its crane and deploy on sea within 2 days.
- How to mass produce the device? To produce the drone ship and mothership inside a factory with more precision and industry scale.
- Where does the installation get its energy from? The mothership and drone ship both contains solar panels, along with batteries storage, motor and sensors are powered by them.
- Is it sustainable and how?
- Is your installation amicable to all marine lives? Yes the materials is environmental friendly, there is no harmful materials in the design.
- How does it work? Especially the biology of it?
- Which other species will naturally be attracted to the oyster reef there, such as crabs, fish, mussels, algae and other species?
- Where do you think this installation would be? Choose a very specific site in Hong Kong waters. Why there? Tell me the characteristics of the place: water depth, tide, current, wave, closest port, fauna and flora, people and industries nearby.
The reference below is the EPD's research on the marine quality of the western and eastern side of Hong Kong. https://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/misc/marine_quality/1986-2005/eng/05_eastern_menu.htm
I believe that this installation will be located at the eastern side of Hong Kong as the statistics shown the water pollution levels is decreasing in the past decade compare to the increasing water pollution level in the western side, where Lau Fau Shan is located at.
- Will it be influenced by the weather condition? The oyster drone ship and mothership will travel back to the typhoon shelter if weather condition is too extreme which may cause danger to the system.
- Does your device perform differently when in different geographic environments(for instance, near shore, in shallow water, and in distant seawater)? The device will determine which location will be the most effective location for oyster farming based on the big data system.
- Is it cost-effective? The mothership will be requiring more resources to build, perhaps will require some sponsoring bodies to help construct several motherships. The drone ships can be purchased by the fishermen.
- Is it possible to be mass-produced? Yes, the drone ships are to be mass produced.
- What is the product / outcome of this installation? Who benefits from it? What is the business model of this? The system will produce oysters. The fishermen will benefit from it when the business scale is increased up and fishermen can meanwhile do other jobs for increasing income at the same time.