remotely operated vehicle


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submersible

submersible, small, mobile undersea research vessel capable of functioning in the ocean depths. Development of a great variety of submersibles during the later 1950s and 1960s came about as a result of improved technology and in response to a demonstrated need for the capability to visit the ocean depths to make direct observations and measurements, to recover lost equipment, and for possible rescue activity. Submersibles are constructed in a variety of sizes and shapes and are designed to perform different and often highly specialized tasks. All contain power sources and one or more sensors, among them lights, photo and video cameras, sonar hydrophones, instruments for measuring environmental parameters, side-scanning sonars, and geophysical devices (magnetometer, acoustic profiler, gravimeter). Some also have mechanical arms (manipulators) to collect samples and perform other modest tasks outside the vessel. Manned submersibles also have a crew compartment within a pressure hull and life-support systems. The modular construction of some vehicles permits easy modification of them for different operational tasks.

In recent years, it has become clear that special purpose, unmanned submersible vehicles can augment or replace manned submersibles. There are two basic types of unmanned submersibles. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is controlled from the surface by a tether, or cable, which is used to transmit power to the vehicle and serve as the medium through which the video signal and other sensor data are transmitted to the surface. The untethered ROV, more generally called an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) or an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV), eliminates the cable and carries its own power. Because of the drastically reduced bandwidth and transmission delays inherent in tetherless underwater communications, these vehicles roam freely using onboard computers to run preset missions. Transmission of instructions to, and video information from, the vehicle is accomplished by means of an acoustic communication link. Some manned submersibles are equipped to carry ROVs to allow exploration of areas too small or dangerous for direct observation by the submersibles themselves.

Submersibles are being used in an increasing number of applications. In addition to salvage and rescue missions, submersibles are used for laying pipelines underwater, for work on offshore oil drilling platforms and wellheads, and for seafloor mapping, underwater surveys, and tunnel and aqueduct inspections. Small AUVs, sometimes called drones, are used by the military and intelligence agencies for underwater espionage, remote monitoring of strategic underwater infrastructure, and other tasks. Their small size, relatively low cost, and ability to operate for long periods of time make them ideal for such uses.

Most modern submersibles are descendants of the first diving sphere (bathysphere), developed in the 1930s, and the more mobile submarine, which cannot operate at great depths. The inherent danger in a bathysphere was its inability to surface on its own accord, being raised and lowered by a winch system on a surface vessel. In 1954 one of the first types of submersible, the bathyscaphe, was designed and successfully tested by Auguste Piccard to overcome this problem and to provide limited maneuverability. A bathyscaphe is in effect an underwater balloon. The cabin is suspended beneath a large flotation chamber that contains gasoline and iron pellets. Submersion is accomplished by release of some gasoline, rendering the craft heavier than water. To rise, some of the iron-shot ballast is released. A second model of the bathyscaphe, called the Trieste II, carried two men to a record-breaking depth of 35,800 ft (10,900 m) at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 1960.

One of the most impressive submersibles is the Aluminaut, constructed of high-strength aluminum alloys and able to operate at 15,000 ft (4,570 m) carrying a crew of six. The Alvin, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is capable of diving to depths of 13,000 ft (3,960 m) with a crew of three and, like the Aluminaut, is equipped with mechanical arms. In 1974 the Alvin and two French submersibles, the Archimède and Cyana, were used in a joint French-American venture, project FAMOUS (for French-American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study), to learn more about seafloor spreading. The Alvin was also used to photograph and retrieve objects from the Titanic after its discovery in 1987. In 1998 the French manned submersible Nautile, two manned Russian Mir submersibles, and assorted AUVs were used to raise a 22-ton section of the Titanic's hull. Using submersibles, James Cameron, in Deepsea Challenger, and Victor Vescovo, in DSV Limiting Factor, became the third and fourth persons to descend (2012, 2019) into the Challenger Deep (36,070 ft/10,994 m) in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific. Vescovo also used his submersible to become the first to reach the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic.

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remotely operated vehicle

[rə‚mōt·lē ‚äp·ə‚rād·əd ′vē·ə·kəl]
(oceanography)
A crewless submersible vehicle that is tethered to a vessel on the surface by a cable; it has a video camera, lights, thrusters that generally provide three-dimensional maneuverability, depth sensors, and a wide array of manipulative and acoustic devices, as well as special instrumentation to perform a variety of work tasks. Abbreviated ROV.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
At depths of 1,600 meters or more, Haddock and his colleagues used a remotely operated vehicle to study three of the fragile siphonophores.
and Canada opportunities to explore marine-related careers through internship programs and an annual remotely operated vehicle (ROV) design competition.
Founded in 1989, Bowtech is a supplier of rugged cameras and LED lighting sources deployed in the most extreme environments within the remotely operated vehicle, defense, oceanographic, nuclear and marine science industries.
In addition, Maersk Oil will deploy a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on Friday to investigate a stretch of pipeline between the Rolf and Gorm platforms to try to locate the source of the leak.
Jason, a remotely operated vehicle servicing ocean-bottom instruments at the Hawaii-2 Observatory in the Pacific Ocean, was capturing the pictures as the bizarre fish hovered just above the seafloor at a depth of about 5,000 meters.
The assignments include the installation of pipelines and umbilicals, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) support, testing and commissioning, as well as inspection, repair and maintenance activities.
Last May, Clague and his colleagues sailed to the central Pacific on a research ship and sent its remotely operated vehicle 3,300 m deep to study seafloor temperatures.
25 October 2010 - Norwegian company Farstad Shipping ASA (OSL: FAR) said today it won a five-year charter, worth some NOK335m, for its vessel Far Scotia to operate as remotely operated vehicle (ROV) support vessel in Brazil.
DOF will charter three remotely operated vehicle (ROV) support vessels for five years.

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