Ashwin Lalendran is the Head of Hardware Engineering at Sofar Ocean. He started his career working at NASA Ames at the Small Satellite office in 2008 and on the first NSF-funded CubeSat mission called RAX in 2009. He later was part of the scaling and proliferation of the drone industry while working at the Air Force Research Lab.
Our oceans cover over 70% of our planet’s surface, drive our climate system, and carry over 90% of the world’s trade. Yet, ocean data is exceedingly sparse. At Sofar, we believe that more and better ocean data will contribute to a greater understanding of our environment, better decisions, improved business outcomes, and ultimately a more sustainable planet.
During the early days of Sofar, designing and shipping sensor systems to customers was prototype heavy. The speed and resourcefulness of the engineering team allowed various concepts to be pursued and validated in the market with consumer and enterprise customers with this prototype ethos. However, when a company is ready to scale its hardware products, a different product design mindset needs to be adopted.
Today, Sofar creates value for our customers across the entire stack. From the hardware platform, generating in situ, ocean observations from every corner of the globe; to the cloud data platform, providing real-time access to all of our deployed sensors (data APIs); to the insights we’re able to deliver to the maritime industry with applications such as Wayfinder Ship Routing. Our hardware sensor platform supports all of these use cases, but in order to be able to truly scale our hardware, we must focus on getting to market quickly with reliable and affordable sensor systems.