A company that claims “the most advanced fleet of autonomous vehicles in the world” found the wreckage of an Argentinian submarine that had been missing for a year, after a two-month search using its autonomous rovers.
A team from Ocean Infinity, the Houston-based firm also tasked with finding the Malaysian Airlines MH370 plane, found the wreckage of the ARA San Juan submarine after probing 24 similar sites, according to ABC News. The remains of the submarine were finally located 700 miles off the coast of Argentina, about half a mile under the water.
The company used five underwater autonomous rovers to look for the lost submarine. Its search vessel hosted three officers of the Argentinian Navy and four family members of the lost crew as observers, according to a press release that has since been removed from the company’s website, but was archived by Google.
The company confirmed the wreckage to Argentinian officials after reviewing footage from its autonomous rovers, which scout the seabed, regularly capturing images. The contract was worth $7.5 million, contingent on Ocean Infinity actually finding the missing submarine.
The “no cure-no pay” payment structure, meaning the company is only paid if they find something, is traditional in maritime salvage. A similar deal Ocean Infinity made with the Malaysian government to find the MH370 plane was worth $70 million, though the 90-day contract expired without finding the plane.
The ARA San Juan had a crew of 44 members, whose families have been summoned to be officially informed of the find.