The Woods Hole Science Center operates a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) as part of our ground-truth efforts; also serving to assist in equipment recovery. It is a small, lightweight device, 99 cm. long, 46 cm. in width and height, weighing about 30 kg, so it is easily deployed by an individual onboard the ship. It is controlled by signals sent via an umbilical cord. The ROV is equipped with thrusters for positioning, video cameras, light sources for the cameras, and an articulating arm to collect small samples or to attach a retrieval line to equipment on the sea floor. The real-time video monitor onboard the mother ship provides visual feedback for control of the system, displaying pitch, roll, yaw, and depth information. All data are logged on the surface systems and stored on DVD’s.
|Remotely Operated Vehicle on left, with surface unit in the center, and umbilical storage reel for deployment on the right. Small box is the operator control unit for the ROV.|
|ROV close-up showing manipulating arm on the left of the unit. Umbilical cord connects on the right.|
The ROV can be deployed from both small and large vessels by a single individual. The ship is stationary during operation of the ROV. The maximum operating depth for our system is restricted to less than 200 meters because of umbilical length.
The ROV is a relatively new system for the Sea-floor Mapping Group. The first use of the ROV was during an investigation of deep-water corals in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, it will be used to aid retrieval of our physical oceanography equipment, such as moorings, that are deployed for extensive periods.
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