SOI HROV concept

Drawings of the new N11k HROV. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanograhic Institution

SOI HROV concept

SOI HROV concept

Schmidt Ocean Institute's Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle (HROV) program has been restructured and will now include the design and development of a series of vehicles with gradually advancing depth and research capabilities for exclusive use on research vessel Falkor. The vehicle development path is expected to include the design and construction of three ROVs tentatively delivering one vehicle per year starting in 2016, ultimately resulting in the creation of a unique robotic fleet.  Each subsequent HROV design will incorporate lessons learned from the development and testing of preceding vehicles and will take advantage of the latest technologies, thereby creating more capable, efficient, and reliable vehicles.  We anticipate that the first vehicle will be rated for 4500m, followed by a 6000m Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV, design requirements are currently being developed), 7000 m HROV, and culminating in the delivery of a full ocean depth (11,000 m) capable HROV.

Each new vehicle will be equipped with a suite of sensors and equipment to provide it with the capability to collect a broad range of data and samples.  The detailed specifications of the vehicle sensing and sampling equipment are currently under development as part of the HROV design process.  The preliminary list of equipment below provides a high level overview of the HROV instrument package that is subject to change without notice as the vehicle design progresses.

HROV Instrument Package

Depth Rating:  appr. 4,500m, 7,000m and 11,000m for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd vehicles respectively

Payload Weight: 180 kilograms
Operational Modes for 11km HROV:

  • ROV: via expendable fiber to 11 km
  • ROV: via optical communications to 6 km
  • ROV: via light tether to 6 km
  • AUV: 20 km range

Baseline Sensor Capabilities:

  • Bathymetry, backscatter, water column:  Reson 7125 AUV 3 Multibeam Echo Sounder (6km)
  • Interferometric bathymetry, sub-bottom profiles, sidescan:  Edgetech 2205m (11km)
  • 3-axis magnetic flux:  Applied Physics Systems APS-1520 magnetometer (11km)
  • Color video: Gobeyond:  3DHD, panoramic, and 4k pan-zoom-tilt cameras (11 km)
  • Color photographs:  WHOI/Insight Pacific Digital Still Camera with Strobe (6km)
  • Turbidity:  TBD, probably Seapoint Optical Backscatter sensor (>6km)
  • Dissolved oxygen:  Aandara Optode 4330-fastfoil (11km)
  • Conductivity, temperature, depth:  Seabird SBE-49 (11km)
  • Sound Velocity Probe:  TBD, probably Reson (>6km)
  • Redox potential:  PMEL ORP Eh Probe (>6km)
  • Vehicle position:  Ixea PHINS-3 6-degree-of-freedom Inertial Navigation Sensor (internal, 11km)
  • Vehicle velocities, water currents, altitude: RDI or ROWE Doppler Velocity Log, TBD (11km)
  • Altitude over sea floor, backup altimetry: TBD, probably Novatech (11km)
  • Pressure depth sensors: TBD, probably Paroscientific (11km)
  • Vehicle position on surface:  TBD, Iridium, AIS (11km)

Baseline Sampling Capabilities:

  • 1x   7-function Kraft primary manipulator arm (11km)
  • 1x   6-function Schilling secondary manipulator arm (11km)
  • 8x   6.4 cm dia sediment cores (11km)
  • 2x   30.5 cm x 30.5 cm 30.5 cm UHMW polyethylene biobox (11 km)
  • 1x   multi-chamber slurp system (11km)
  • 5x   2-liter Niskin bottles (11km)

The vehicle will also be designed to accommodate integration of add-on scientific instruments using ethernet, RS-232, RS-485, RS-422, serial, and analog interfaces.  5000 WHr of battery power will be made available for the auxiliary science sensors at up to 80V and 100W per channel.

HROV instrument package that is subject to change without notice as the vehicle design progresses.

-Written by Carlie Wiener, Victor Zykov