Does anyone have experience towing the BlueROV2? Or better yet, implementing a system where an ROV can be alternately towed and free-piloted on one dive?
Why? We are trying to conduct benthic video transects, but without position telemetry, we can’t precisely match the support boat’s heading, and before long the ROV gets pulled by the umbilical. We have found it difficult to recover proper orientation after getting pulled. We deploy the ROV at depth using a “clump weight”, a heavy weight hanging from a rope ~10 m off the bottom. The ROV umbilical is clipped to the rope at intervals, and there is a short section of free umbilical between the clump weight and the ROV.
So, the vision is to attach a tow-point to the front of the BlueROV2, and add a length of tow rope from the clump weight. We would deploy the ROV this way, and then once our heading is set, we would fly the ROV forward and down with the heading locked, and conduct a straight survey transect until eventually the boat’s heading diverges from the ROV’s heading and the ROV gets pulled.
I’m picturing a rigid semi-circular “bail” tow-point (sort of like the wire handle of a bucket) attached near the front of the ROV that can rotate over the ROV. When towing, the bail would be forward, and when free-flying it would rotate back to place the drag toward the rear. This way, when the ROV eventually diverges from the boat’s course, the bail will rotate forward and pull the ROV from the front, in the direction of the clump weight, and we will simply lock the new heading (using Stablilize mode) and resume piloting.
Any feedback? Particularly relative to exactly what position on the BlueROV2 might be optimal for attaching the tow point, such that it maintains maneuverability during free-piloting but still tows OK?