1999 Projects: ROV improvements
In 1999 MBARI will balance operational use of its ROVs with improvements and upgrades to enhance their performance and capabilities.
Upgrades designed to ease the work of the pilots:
Automated robotic arm controldevelopment of software to automate certain steps of robotic arm functions such as sample collection and the selection of tools for various tasks.
Automatic station-keepingimplementation of a system that will automatically hold the vehicle in position over a specified location on the seafloor.
Interchangeable end effectordevelopment of interchangeable ends ("hands") for the vehicle manipulators that will allow tooling to be switched out underwater and expand the number of tasks that can be accomplished by the system.
New tools that will extend the science capability of the ROVs:
Benthic box-core systemdesign of an improved device for recovering samples of seafloor sediments for a variety of scientific analyses..
Detritus samplerdevelopment of a collecting device for effectively capturing larvacean filtering structures and other delicate organisms too large for collection with current used samplers.
Toolsled interface adaptorfabrication of a toolsled interface adaptor for Ventana, to enable toolsleds designed for Tiburon to be tested on Ventana.
Benthic elevatorThe duration of an ROV dive is currently limited by the number of samplers it can carry. To overcome this limitation, engineers and operations personnel will develop a benthic elevator for transporting samplers to the ROV at depth and bringing collected samples back to the surface.
Projects that aim to improve performance and reduce maintenance time for the vehicles:
Ventana manipulator upgradeThe ROV's existing five-function arm will be replaced with a seven-function model, similar to the one installed on Tiburon.
Tiburon Integrated Viewing SystemModifications on Tiburon's integrated, dual-camera system will render it more user-friendly and easier to service.
Tiburon thruster and power system upgradesUpgrades to Tiburon will augment its power capbilities and provide it with more reliable thrusters.
Tiburon umbilical rotation sensorEngineers will install a sensor to alert ROV operators to twists in Tiburons umbilical (tether), allowing them to counteract cable kinks that could result in serious damage.
Aided inertial navigation system for TiburonFor improved navigation capabilities aboard Tiburon, and ultimately for MBARI AUVs, engineers will complete development of an aided inertial navigation system.
Precision-control technologies for underwater vehiclesMBARI and collaborators will explore technologies that could potentially enable a wide range of autonomy in controlling autonomous underwater vehicles and remotely operated vehicles.
Mapping projectThe high-resolution mapping data that MBARI collected in 1998 will be fully integrated into a GIS system to allow precise positioning of vehicles with respect to the seafloor and experiment sites.
Last updated: 10 November 2003