In December 2017, graduate students from the Dept. of Ocean Engineering at the Graduate School of Oceanography - University of Rhode Island, in collaboration with the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) of Marion MA , deployed an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) in the Cape Cod Canal. The instrument is doing a high resolution study on the currents at the MRECo Bourne Tidal Test Site adjacent to the Train Bridge. An Aquabotix Endura 100 was deployed from shore to confirm the position of the ADCP on the bottom of the Canal in the vicinity of the Tidal Test Platform.
Bourne Tidal Test Site Manager C. Eben Franks said: “Aquabotix has been a true world-leader in support of research and educational programs. Their ROVs are lightweight, easy to deploy, simple to operate and have had a real impact on our ability to document conditions at our test site.” Executive Director of MRECo, John Miller, added: “We looked into other alternatives and found that Aquabotix had the best solution for our needs.”
UUV Aquabotix Ltd (ASX:UUV) (“Aquabotix" or the “Company”) today introduced its second-generation hybrid underwater vehicle, the Integra AUV/ROV (autonomous underwater vehicle/remotely operated vehicle). Single-person deployable, portable and lithium ion battery-powered, the Integra AUV/ROV allows users to conduct multiple underwater missions, while providing a cost-efficient alternative to deploying separate AUVs and ROVs for individualized tasks.
The Integra AUV/ROV can be configured with multiple sensors and maneuvered by an easy-to-use intuitive platform accessible from any web-enabled device. The vehicle is designed for use across several sectors, including law enforcement, research, environmental assessment, defense and infrastructure, and can search wide areas using AUV mode (untethered) while conducting detailed inspections using ROV mode (tethered). Users can easily switch from AUV mode to ROV mode by attaching the tether to remotely control the vehicle’s six degrees of freedom of motion. When running the vehicle in autonomous operation, all mission planning is completed in an intuitive Windows-based application.
“With the Integra Hybrid AUV/ROV, we have added more functionality to a single vehicle,” said David Batista, CEO of Aquabotix. “Because this vehicle has the brain power to conduct autonomous missions as well as detailed inspections in a single setting, operators have immediate and complete control. The introduction of the Integra AUV/ROV is the next step in the evolution of underwater vehicles and illustrates how Aquabotix continues to successfully meet the demands of underwater exploration and inspection.”
Other features of the Integra AUV/ROV include:
“Our second-generation hybrid, the Integra, leverages the strongest innovative capabilities of both types of underwater vehicles. Yet in utilizing our hybrid digital platform, users no longer need two vehicles to explore and conduct tasks underwater. Now, they can activate AUV mode for broad range searches, while switching to ROV capabilities for more in-depth analysis of underwater conditions,” said Durval Tavares, Chief Technology Officer of Aquabotix. “Simply put, the Integra AUV/ROV is a force multiplier for our customers.”
Aquabotix recently announced its new Live Remove Control product feature, which customers can use to pilot underwater vehicles, store, analyze and share data, from any web browser-enabled device, remotely, from anywhere in the world. Aquabotix’s entire family of products, including the Integra, are now equipped with this class leading functionality.
To watch the Integra AUV/ROV in action, please visit:
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.