15 Yunfei and the remaining team were undeterred. In 2013, they won the China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. This was a huge turning point for the company, with their products going on to be used in response to the fallout from the Tianjin Port explosion and Gansu mine leakage, and to monitor water pollution in Xixia County, Henan, and the Tibetan lakes. With these remarkable achievements, Yunzhou secured financial support and expanded to more than 40 countries and regions around the world. By 2022, it had delivered about 3,000 USVs and smart rescuing devices, including a rigorously-tested boat drone that was deployed to map the ocean floor in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Through their ocean-going drones, the company is actively and positively changing the relationship that human beings have with the sea. Currently, they are developing unmanned boat swarm control technology, which can be integrated into the collaborative system of unmanned platform operating in air, sea and submersible. This technology represents the future of marine unmanned intelligent equipment and will allow for greater ocean exploration. Powered by AI and other technological advances, Yunfei’s vision for the future continues to grow, but he’s also looking back. Believing that you can’t succeed with a narrow focus on only your own professional field, as an HKUST alumnus, he wants to ensure those following his footsteps have the space to give their own imaginations free rein and seek to understand other disciplines, such as finance and marketing. He has gifted two Dolphin 1 surface rescue vehicles to HKUST, leaving the software open for students to study, explore, and — he hopes — eventually come up with new algorithms and creations. Yunfei advocates big dreams as drivers of industry innovation. He hopes engineering students will aspire to be pioneers by following their interests and leading unique niches of research and innovation. With the USV industry still in its early stages of development, Yunfei plans to launch a platform strategy that will make the company’s technology more accessible, deepening cooperation and integration within the industry. Guided by his unshakeable spirit, it’s likely we’ll see Yunzhou riding the waves for years to come.