The world’s oceans are the last frontier for discovery on Earth. They have gone largely unexplored throughout history not for lack of curiosity, but due to their vast size and crushing depths. Pioneering work done by ocean explorers, marine researchers, archaeologists and oceanographers over the last few decades have brought us much closer to understanding what lies beneath the ocean, but there is much left to discover. Marine research is one area of ocean exploration which has driven the development of underwater viewing devices, from bathyspheres in the 1930’s to Human Occupied Vehicles (HOVs) such as Woods Hole’s Alvin commissioned in the 1960’s, to today’s most modern Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) such as Woods Hole’s Nereus, which reached a depth of over 35,000 feet in the Mariana Trench in 2009. In each case, the goal has been to go deeper and capture more photos and video of the unknown depths. The dangers of deep water exploration have led most researchers to rely on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) which allow explorers to do their work from the safety of the surface. Included below are three amazing discoveries made by marine researchers using underwater technology.
1. Discovery of Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents
(photo credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
In 1977 Richard Von Herzen and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution discovered hydrothermal vents for the first time during an expedition to explore the Galapagos Rift. The team was measuring deep ocean temperatures by towing a research sled deep under water, and when the temperature reading spiked, they hadn’t just discovered the existence of hydrothermal vents, but to their surprise, they found a vast ecosystem of deep sea animals living around the vents. Like a deep sea oasis in the middle of a deep, dark desert, the hydrothermal vents provided a constant source of hydrogen sulfide, ejected from the earth’s crust through fissures and used by industrious bacteria to create energy by means of chemosythesis. By contrast, most life on earth gets its energy by means of photosynthesis.
2. Discovery of Bone-eating (Osedax) Worms
(Photo credit: Monterey Bay Research Institute)
In 2002 the Monterey Bay Research Institute discovered a new genus of deep-sea worms, dubbed “Zombie Worms” located in the Monterey Canyon. Osedax worms were found colonizing whale falls, the carcasses of dead whales which have settled to the deep ocean floor to decompose. Osedax worms embed themselves in whale bones and bore holes by secreting acid to reach nutrients within the bones. Osedax lack a mouth and a stomach, and completely rely on symbiotic bacteria to extract nutrients from the whale bones. Whale falls are an uncommon occurrence on the ocean floor, but for the most opportunistic and prolific microscopic life, no opportunity is left unused.
3. Discovery of Ghostlike Octopod
(Photo Credit: NOAA)
In 2016 the NOAA Okeanos Explorer discovered what is thought to be a new species of octopod which resembles a ghost, with a translucent white body and stubby arms. The photos and videos of this discovery are just one of dozens captured during the Hohonu Moana Hawaii Deep Water Expedition. Missions such as this create so much data that marine biologists will be analyzing them for years for new discoveries. What’s most exciting is that modern oceanic exploration has become a group activity, by utilizing telepresence and live streaming, experts and the public can drop in on underwater discoveries while they are happening, paving the way for the next generation of explorers to get involved and make a difference.
Each of these three underwater research missions relied on deep sea exploration technology, specifically, ROVs equipped with cameras. Modern day marine researchers have the tools to dive deep and capture stunning images of what lies on the ocean floor. With every new mission comes a chance for new underwater discoveries.
Hydroelectric dams are impressive in both size and scale. Some of the tallest dams stretch over 300 meters tall and the longest dams span nearly 4 miles wide. The single largest reservoir in the world holds 180 cubic kilometers of water, which is roughly 47 trillion gallons, enough to provide the entire United States with water for nearly five months! It’s no wonder that hydro power accounts for 20% of the world’s energy. With such large structures comes a serious need for underwater inspections and preventative maintenance. Inspection class Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) offer a great deal of support for routine dam inspections, including inspecting Face of Dam, Heel and Toe of Dam, Water Intakes, Trash Racks, Penstocks, Turbines, and Lower Outlets.
nDams provide a set of unique challenges for inspection. It’s a dangerous environment, with deep water, fast moving water, turbid outflows, turbines and other entanglements. It’s extremely dangerous and sometimes impossible for divers to inspect these areas while the dam is operational. Only ROVs with the most hydrodynamic design and highest levels of thrust can overcome the demands of dam inspections. Typically, an AC power system is required to keep the vehicle in continuous operation for long shifts or for heavy thruster use to counteract the current, which would otherwise deplete a DC battery system.
ROVs come equipped with a variety of sensors which are extremely helpful for dam inspections. Features such as HD Cameras, High Intensity LED Lights, Sonar, Laser Scaler, Thickness Gauge and Grabber Arm are used heavily. The Camera paired with LED Lights are used for visual inspection and documentation, and are especially useful in deep, dark waters along the bottom of the dam. Sonar is a critical tool for successful navigation in very turbid water where water clarity is minimal. A Laser Scaler emits two lasers at a fixed width, acting like a measuring stick, allowing for accurate measurement of objects by simply looking at them with an ROV. A Non-destructive thickness gauge is used to check the integrity of coatings and measuring corrosion. And a grabber arm can be used to clean trash racks of debris, or to retrieve foreign objects from the water around a dam.
By utilizing inspection class ROVs for dam inspections it eliminates the risk to divers, reduces the down time of dam operations, provides the ability to increase the frequency of inspections and perform preventative maintenance faster while reducing the per-inspection cost.
UUV Aquabotix Ltd (ASX:UUV) (“Aquabotix" or the “Company”) today announced the addition of four new distributors to its global network. The partnerships will help support the company’s global expansion and sale of its underwater robotics products, including its Endura ROV (remotely operated vehicle), Hybrid AUV/ROV (autonomous remote vehicle) and AquaLens Connect underwater camera system. To date, Aquabotix has sold more than 350 vehicles in more than 40 countries.
“We understand the importance of growing our channels to sell through our partnerships with our distributors,” said Ted Curley, chief development officer at Aquabotix and a former Teledyne executive instrumental in securing the new distributors. “The representatives we are partnering with are among the most experienced professionals in the industry and service our primary markets, including oceanography, aquaculture, survey, defense and security.”
Aquabotix’s latest distributors include:
“As the underwater robotics market continues to grow and we continue to expand our global presence, we are always looking for reliable distributors with whom we can partner,” said Durval Tavares, CEO of Aquabotix. “Thanks to these recent additions to our network, we are now in a prime position to reach a wider range of users and suppliers and dramatically increase the distribution of our vehicles worldwide.”
Aquabotix is pleased to welcome another distributor, Deekay Marine Services Pvt. Ltd., to our global network. Established in 1981, Deekay Marine Services is involved in various marine sectors such as Hydrography, Oceanography, Surveillance Systems, Coastal Security Systems, Engineering and Marine Surveying Services. Deekay Marine Services is based in India with a service center in Mumbai.
Environmental research is a vital practice for ensuring our lakes, streams and oceans remain clean and healthy. Collecting water samples in the field is often one of the best ways to monitor water quality. Researchers commonly test for the presence of harmful bacteria, algae blooms, dissolved metals, and agricultural and well as industrial pollutants. Man-made substances such pharmaceuticals and micro plastics also appear in water samples, and the first step in understanding their environmental impact is understanding where they are coming from.
Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) as well as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) provide the means to efficiently and accurately capture a series of water samples, along a pre-determined route, at specific GPS coordinates, and even at specific depths. The concentrations of target substances can then be mapped, analyzed over time, and traced back to their source. As with any scientific study, the conclusion is only as good as the data, and ROVs equipped with water samplers give the accuracy and repeatability that are necessary.
How a Water Sampler Works:
Water samplers are simple. They consist of one or more tubular chambers which are open on both ends to allow water to flow freely through it. When the operator triggers the mechanism, the tube is sealed on both ends by a rubber stopper which snaps into place, forming a water-tight chamber. Good water samplers contain multiple chambers, which can be cycled into position and activated, like the chambers of a revolver. By triggering multiple samples at known coordinates or known depths, the water quality data is easier to plot and analyze. ROV’s take the guess work out of this process by providing the depth, heading, and GPS location of each sample as it’s triggered. Through a suite of other on-board sensors, ROVs can simultaneously collect information about water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and many other parameters which give a well-rounded set of data points to connect to each water sample.
Aquabotix is pleased to welcome Seafloor Systems, Inc. to our distributor network. With over 20 years experience in the Hydrographic community, Seafloor specializes in integrated hydrographic survey solutions. Their expertise in in complete turnkey, integrated Multibeam and Single Beam solutions.
Aquabotix is pleased to welcome our newest distributor, A2 Marine Solution. Based in Brazil, A2 Marine has more than 15 years of experience, focused on solutions and equipment supply for the hydrography applications, bathymetric surveys and precise positioning.
Aquabotix is pleased to welcome our newest distributor Saderet Ltd., a leading independent marine survey equipment specialist. Based in the UK, Saderet specializes in the supply of survey and positioning equipment and services to a wide variety of markets including marine and land survey, oceanography, precision agriculture, GIS data collection, vehicle telematics and OEM. Presenting some of the best manufacturers of survey related equipment in the world, they deliver products worldwide.
Aqua Nor 2017 took place last week in Trondheim, Norway, a country at the heart of finfish aquaculture technology. Aqua Nor has been an international meeting place for aquaculture professionals since 1979, and holds the title of the world’s largest aquaculture technology exhibition. Aqua Nor 2017 was the biggest show yet, with a record breaking 27,000 visitors in attendance from 71 countries as well as over 600 exhibitors spread across nine buildings filled with educational seminars, socials and exhibit halls. Aquabotix CEO, Durval Tavares was in attendance, and we’re pleased to announce that an Endura 100 AQ Remotely Operated Vehicle was on display this year at the event.
One of the major themes emerging from Aqua Nor 2017 was the desire for fish farms to access the IoT (Internet of Things), also known as “Remote Farming”. Equipment which was once analog, such as fish feeders and underwater camera systems and underwater probes are beginning to connect to the internet in a meaningful way. In Norway, aquaculture operations often have multiple sites stretching up and down the coastline; and managing multiple sites from a central location means an increased desire for internet connected systems. Norweigan company SBS Teknikk specializes in connecting fish farms with smart technology solutions such as Aquabotix’s Endura 100 AQ ROV, and AquaLens Connect Underwater Camera System, providing farms with a live underwater view from multiple locations simultaneously.
To learn more about Aqua Nor, visit them here. To learn more about SBS Teknikk, visit them here.
Aquabotix Technology Corporation is pleased to announce the appointment of Ted Curley to the position of Chief Development Officer ("CDO"). Mr. Curley will be based in the Massachusetts office and his duties include overseeing all facets of the sales and business development functions.
Mr. Curley is a top producing sales and marketing leader in the unmanned underwater industry, with over 25 years sales experience. Most recently Mr. Curley was Director of Sales - Vehicles at Teledyne Marine, a division of Teledyne Technologies, Inc. ("Teledyne"). Teledyne is an American Industrial conglomerate, primarily based in the United States but with global operations, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of approximately US$5.35 billion. Mr. Curley's responsibilities at the approximately US$50 million Marine Division included leading the direct sales team, establishing and maintaining the global distributor network, business development, marketing and sales strategy, and negotiating high value contracts with commercial and governmental agencies. Previously, he served as Regional Sales Manager at Teledyne TSS Ltd (UK) and Sales and Marketing Manager at EPC Laboratories, Inc.
Mr. Curley qualified with a BA in Communications from the UNiversity of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.
Peter James, UUV Aquabotix's Chairman, commented "Mr. Curley's appointment provides further validation of Aquabotix's growing presence in the BlueTech space. Ted's experience will fast-track the Company's expansion into new sectors and regions, primarily through a refreshed distribution network."