DEVELOP Competition:

Develop a Marine Energy Powered System

The theme of the DEVELOP Competition is “Buoys and Autonomous Systems” and was informed by the DISCOVER Competition.


The DEVELOP Competition invites contestant teams to compete for up to $2.4 million in cash awards by designing, building, and testing novel, wave-powered, self-charging autonomous underwater vehicle systems that, with refinement, would be suitable for a 6-month deployment in the Atlantic Ocean to monitor hurricane formation. Prototypes built during this competition are not meant to be mature systems but should demonstrate basic functionality and potential for refinement into a commercially viable product.


This theme includes, but is not limited to, ideas that use marine energy as a means of propulsion, to recharge batteries, or more generally to increase the range, duration or performance of the vehicle. Buoys, floats, tags, drifters, and other similar ocean observing platforms are typically stationary or mobility-constrained systems used for long-duration observations. They may be surface or subsurface and can host one or many instruments. This theme includes, but is not limited to, ideas that use marine energy to increase platform longevity, energy availability, or other similar performance characteristics.


Past participation in the DISCOVER competition is not required for participation in the DEVELOP Competition.

Important DEVELOP Competition Dates

DESIGN Contest Key Dates


All dates subject to change; see the HeroX Ocean Observing Prize page for the latest dates.
  • Submission Open: October 19, 2020
  • Submission Close: February 16, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Judging and Review Complete: Anticipated March 17, 2021
  • Winner Announcement and Awards: Anticipated April 1, 2021

BUILD Contest Key Dates


All dates subject to change.
  • Submission Open: Anticipated April 2021 through September 2021
  • Tank Testing: Anticipated September 2021 through October 2021
  • Awards: Anticipated November 2021

SPLASH Contest Key Dates


All dates subject to change.
  • Submission Open: Anticipated November 2021 through February 2022
  • Testing at Sea: Anticipated March 2022
  • Awards: Anticipated April 2022

Solutions that help shape the future

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can help promote transformation by participating in the American-Made Challenges.


Compete in the DEVELOP Competition