I regularly look over https://www.challenge.gov competitions and saw this one:
This seems like a pretty good fit for a goTenna mesh device. The one missing piece is built in GPS functionality which for now comes from our cell phones. It seems to me that with a little engineering that GPS location could come from the device itself. If an Apple Watch can have GPS in it, I have no doubt that a goTenna mesh device could as well.
Anyway, the short story is the coast guard is awarding $5,000 just to come up with the idea, then up to $120,000 to produce a demonstration of said device and then a further $50,000 for first place. All in all a fair amount of money to do what I believe would be to take an existing goTenna mesh unit, add GPS, and waterproof it. Additionally, maybe add a really bright light, make it float, and maybe even put a little pop up antenna to help with range when in rough seas. If the goTenna signal could also be triangulated easily that would also help. I will never get around to this… too busy I’m afraid, but thought it was at least worth sending out here in case anyone has more time than I do to tackle this. I literally think the first phase could be awarded by wrapping an old cell phone with no service but a functional GPS unit and bluetooth in a waterproof bag with a paired goTenna mesh device sending out location information on a set interval and demonstrating that anyone with a goTenna mesh device within range will get their location.
Trying to get the cost to $35 when manufactured at scale seems possible, but I guess it depends on what scale they are looking for. Anyway, take a look and get hacking if your interested.