Intelligent Autonomy: Using the Sun and
Wind to Power New Ideas in Ocean Exploration

Ocean Aero is an award-winning company that created
the world’s first environmentally-powered, Autonomous,
Underwater and Surface Vehicles (AUSVs)

Intelligent Autonomy: Using the Sun and Wind to Power
New Ideas in Ocean Exploration

Ocean Aero is an award-winning company that created
the world’s first environmentally-powered, Autonomous,
Underwater and Surface Vehicles (AUSVs)

Based in San Diego since 2012, we design, build, test, and manufacture a hybrid, wind and solar-powered, surface and subsurface vehicle for extended ocean observation and data collection. Supported by U.S. patents, our intelligent autonomous technology is ideally suited to fit the needs of a variety of strategic maritime missions, ranging from intelligence and surveillance to marine mammal tracking, to Met-Ocean data gathering to persistent situational awareness.

Our ocean drones are available in various configurations and scales and provide an efficient way to scout, discover, and navigate through the world’s oceans. The unique combination of folding wingsail and solar panels enables the vehicles to traverse long distances and hold station keeping for precise monitoring. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries power command, control, and sensor payload functions. The retractable wingsail allows us to submerge and avoid harsh surface conditions, evade detection, and perform subsurface data collection tasks. The Launch and Recovery System (LARS) from ramp, dockside or at sea is a simple, safe, and time-saving solution. And the vehicles can be transported from land, air, and sea.

Our combined design, engineering and ocean experience spans world-class sailing, record-breaking dive depths, space flight, space jumping, piloting aircraft, carriers and unmanned vehicles.

Eric Patten


Eric is the CEO and President of Ocean Aero, an unmanned maritime systems company which builds game-changing, long-range and persistent ocean-going robots. Prior to joining Ocean Aero, Eric was the Director, Defense and Intelligence Global Solutions for the geospatial technology leader Esri, where he led his team to build awareness of Esri’s geospatial technology within the defense and intelligence communities worldwide. Before joining Esri in 2010, Eric served as a U.S. Navy Captain with a 25-year career of distinguished service. He was the Director of operations for the U.S. Navy’s Southwest region, responsible for shore-based operations including those supporting anti-terrorism, fire and emergency services, emergency management, and air and port operations. He served as navigator aboard the USS Ronald Reagan on several deployments including its maiden deployment to the Middle East in support of the global war on terrorism. Eric was the commanding officer of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Five One in Japan and has held several posts on a number of naval vessels. He has also led combat missions as a naval aviator.

Eric is on the board of Directors for the San Diego Police Foundation and was the Chairman of the Communications committee leading the rebranding of the Foundation.  He also sits on the board of Directors for The Maritime Alliance


BA Political Science, Washington State University, Pullman WA
MA, National Security and Strategic Studies, US Naval War College, Newport RI

Bill Burns


Bill Burns has more than 25 years of leadership experience developing and delivering naval technologies to customers in the DOD and commercial markets. Currently, he serves as Ocean Aero’s executive vice president of technology where he brings an entrepreneurial practicality to the leadership team and is responsible for test planning, technology validation, customer relations and product feedback.

Bill was Ocean Aero’s point man for the NUWC’s ANTX 2016 Exercise with LMCO in Newport, RI and the USMC’s ANTX2017-S2ME2 Exercise with SPAWAR at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, CA.

As the Founder and President of MSHIPCO, he successfully created and managed multi-million-dollar government programs with USSOCOM, NAVSEA, OFT, ONR and DARPA, including the delivery of the 50-knot, all carbon-fiber, Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Platform, which won TIME magazine Best Military Invention for 2006. He was also Principal Investigator on multiple SBIR programs including a Phase III that was recognized in 2014 by USSOCOM as a Small Business Innovative Research Success Story.

In the private sector, Bill has designed over 30 custom and production yachts, authored several technical research papers and has been granted 15 naval-technology patents. Several of his products have been recognized
for pioneering designs, including Sailing Worlds Overall Boat of the Year award in 2001 for the Schock 40 CBTF yacht, UCSD CONNECT’s 2007 Most Innovative Product Award for the M-Hull Technology and the Industrial Design Excellence Award 2003 for the Wahoo Sailboat.

Brian Peterson

EVP Communications & Marketing

Brian Peterson is an award-winning B2B and B2C communications and marketing executive Currently, he oversees all marketing and communications for Ocean Aero, including the company’s branding, sales enablement, partnership marketing, media relations, marketing communications, advertising, event promotion, and market research efforts.

Prior to joining Ocean Aero, Brian served as a senior product marketing executive and head of PR for Esri, where he designed the company’s first ever comprehensive global communications strategy.

From 2009-2012, he served as vice president, corporate communications for Fox Cable Networks and was an architect of communications plans that supported multi-billion-dollar programming deals and helped launch new cable networks. Prior to joining FCN’s corporate communications, he was the director of media relations for Fox Sports North in Minneapolis.

From 1990-2003, Brian was a senior editor and project manager with the NFL’s creative services division in Los Angeles. He managed a variety of media vehicles, including and, and created marketing communications and promotions for companies, such as General Mills, and Miller Brewing.

Brian worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee during the 1988 Summer and Winter Olympic Games and has authored numerous magazine articles and books.

In 2003, he earned an MBA from Pepperdine University, and in 1989, he received a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the nationally-acclaimed University of Missouri School of Journalism. Currently, Brian also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Redlands, teaching marketing management and strategy.

Neil Trenaman

EVP Strategic Business Development

Over the past three decades, Neil Trenaman’s career has spanned a broad spectrum of the global marine industry, ranging from research, product development, sales and marketing to management positions.

As the Executive Vice President of Strategic Business Development at Ocean Aero, Neil works closely with the CEO and the Executive Management group to develop “go to market” strategies and to successfully execute Ocean Aero’s business plans. He also is responsible for establishing a national sales team and a network of international channel partners as well as transitioning pre-production technologies into fully productized, commercially viable entities.

Prior to joining Ocean Aero, Neil held a variety of senior and executive level management positions, such as:

  • North American VP of Business Development for the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI)
  • VP of Global Business Development at Liquid Robotics, a Silicon Valley-based company recently acquired by Boeing
  • Chief Operating Officer at UVS Pty Ltd, a leading marine technology distribution company based in Australia
  • Director of Global Strategy, Mergers and Acquisition for Xylem Analytics Ocean & Coastal businesses.

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