Things you need to know about ROV

Underwater robots, as everyone can understand from the literal sense, are robots that work underwater. From a professional point of view, an underwater robot is an intelligent or semi-intelligent device that can move underwater, has a machine vision and perception system, and completes underwater tasks through autonomous operation or remote control. At present, there are nearly 300 kinds of underwater robots in the world, which can be divided into three types according to the way of use: remote-controlled underwater robots with cables, intelligent underwater robots without cables, and manned submersibles.

ROV can be used in various industries, including marine mineral mining, pipeline dredging, underwater search and rescue, fishing ground monitoring, submarine optical cable laying, and underwater equipment maintenance.

The first tethered ROV, the POODLE, was developed by Dimitri Rebikoff in 1953. In the late 1960s, the U.S. Navy began developing robots to help locate and recover underwater ordnance. By the 1980s, commercial companies started utilizing technology to aid the oil and gas industry. There are huge oil and natural gas reserves in the ocean, and various countries are trying to explore and exploit marine resources. However, divers cannot dive into the deep sea due to seawater pressure, and underwater robots can replace humans for survey tasks. As a result, underwater robots have been valued by various countries.


China started researching and developing underwater robots as early as the 1980s and made significant breakthroughs. The successful experiment of the first underwater robot, “Hairen 1”, was followed by the development of many underwater robots with different functions, which increased to 958 by 1988. Most of the submersibles added during this period were cable remote-controlled submersibles, about 800 of them, of which more than 420 were directly used for offshore pool gas development. In 2009, China’s underwater robot completed the sub-ice survey in the Arctic Ocean for the first time. On March 19, 2015, for the first time, an underwater robot inserted the five-star red flag into the seabed at a water depth of nearly 3,000 meters.

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