I just wanted to announce our project using a BlueROV2 Heavy that has been customized to withstand “permanent” placement at 900m deep. We plan on keeping the equipment on the seafloor as long as it continues to function. We worked together with Blue Robotics on this project and I am happy to report that the ROV has been submerged at 900m for 51 days now without any issues. Additionally, the system we created allows us to tel-operate this ROV from anywhere in the world assuming a decent internet connection. The ROV is located at the bottom the of the Monterey Bay off the coast of California connected to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (MBARI) cabled observatory called the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) (Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) - MBARI). We have constructed our own student educational platform that consists of a few student activities including the ROV, a separate PTZ camera, and a hydrophone. So far, the ROV has been tel-operated from as far away as Okinawa Japan, and has even been flown over a Starlink satellite connection from Canada. Users in western USA are getting pings of around 30ms average and we have even seen pings as low as 17ms average.
The main customizations we made to the vehicle include:
-Subconn connectors for all penetrations
-Slightly thicker aluminum housings
-Slightly thicker acrylic dome
-Syntactic foam buoyancy with additional foam to support added weight of connectors
-Custom hybrid power system for charging ROV over tether.
-Falmat neutrally buoyant tether
Other than that, the ROV is pretty much in stock configuration. We did not change much to the main housing electronics and the lights are stock Blue Robotics Lumens.
The goal of this project is to inspire young students by allowing access to equipment and environments that were previously inaccessible. The Quest Institute already has programs that allow students to send experiments to the space station, and now we have the ability to allow students to operate equipment at the bottom of the ocean.
Check out some of the cool marine life we have seen by visiting our YouTube channel here: