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Some Knowledge about underwater vehicle

What is an ROV?

ROV stands for Remotely Operated Vehicle. It is an underwater robot, sometimes known as a remote controlled submarine, controlled by pilots on a ship. The ROV is connected to the ship by a cable, called an umbilical, that contains lines running communications and power to the vehicle.

What is the difference between an ROV and AUV?

For the most part, ROV’s are piloted in real time by an operator, while AUV’s are usually pre-programmed to conduct missions with little or no surface intervention. There are also hybrid ROV’s that can act in both an AUV and ROV mode. Typically, AUV’s and ROV’s are used for different purposes, but can be used in tandem to gather a full suite of information needed for a particular underwater area. AUV’s are generally programed for specific tasks, such as high resolution mapping, photogrammetry, or collecting water measurements. Once completed, the AUV will return to a predetermined location where it is recovered by researchers who can then download and process the data gathered. An ROV might be deployed after the AUV to get real-time video and physical collections of the environment. Although some people use the term “robot” to describe a ROV, the term is more commonly used to refer to AUV’s (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) since ROV’s have a human operator or pilot and AUV’s do not.

How many people are in the ROV?

ROVs are unmanned, hence the “Remote” part of the name. There are several advantages to not sending humans down in the vehicle, primarily safety and longer diving time (up to many days at a time), allowing a continuous stream of imaging, observation, and sampling opportunities.

What is the longest time you have been diving for?

Dive length depends on factors like depth and weather, but as long as there are no technical operations, there are no limits on how long an ROV can stay down. On average, dives typically last around eight hours. In comparison, a dive in a human occupied vehicle typically lasts five hours.

How did ROV SuBastian get its name?

Like research vessel Falkor, ROV SuBastian was named after a character, Bastian, in the German fantasy novel The Never Ending Story. The name is a play on words, as the vehicle is going “sub” surface. Research vessel Falkor also has a work and safe boat named Atreyu and Auryn.

How many people are needed to operate the ROV?

The person operating an ROV is called a pilot. This is because they can technically “fly” the vehicle in all three dimensions – something we can’t do with other ocean equipment such as a CTD. At a minimum, SuBastian requires three to four people to manage the vehicle offshore, including two ROV pilots to “fly” it. There is always a lead pilot, but if there are arm manipulations needed, the co-pilot will help. The co-pilot also keeps an eye on vehicle position. There will also be several scientists who sit with the pilots in the multi-screened control room. They will be taking notes to augment the recorded data and footage, watching the video feed and making decisions, including navigational courses and sample selections.

Before and after every dive, the ROV’s systems are rigorously checked and maintained. Our crew has a diverse background to help with the ROV and our research vessel Falkor. You can learn more about our team here.

Do I need to take special classes to learn how to operate an ROV or be part of a team?

There are classes, courses, and schools that specialize in ROV training. Check out our Education Page and Ocean Resources for insight into education and training for careers at sea. To learn more about how ROV SuBastian was built, you can watch a 16-part video series here.


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