UBC Undergraduate Research

Report on the development and testing of a fully submergible remote operated vehicle for the purposes of sea sponge and coral analysis Lewis, Byron; McNeill, Adrian


This report details the results of student work on an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) used to view sponge life on the sea floor of the Howe Sound (a depth of ~850ft). The ROV is to be ergonomically viable for operation by a single, or pair or researchers, as well as economical. This project is a continuation of work completed by a previous student team who produced a simple, incomplete, prototype. The ROV is not completed but significant advancements have been made. The project is currently a mechanical shell approximately 1m³ and weights 30kg (this includes electronic components) and several primary electrical systems. The mechanical shell has been extensively upgraded and remade to better fulfill the design requirements. One of the ROV’s defining characteristics is a pressure equalization system that allows deep diving without use of heavy and expensive structural supports. It works by connecting all water tight areas of the ROV to a SCUBA regulator and air tank. This passively maintains the air pressure ambient to the water thus greatly reducing the forces on the unit. Key mechanical features such at the pressure equalization systems, and leak free housings have been tested successfully. The PES is found to consume ~2.6 ft³ over a 15 min dive reaching 51 ft and back to the surface then 133ft and back to the surface. This confirms the model which predicts ~2.5 ft³ consumed. The major electrical systems have been designed, built and tested including the power, motor control and camera systems. The other defining characteristic is the single cable tether system which will carry all signals to and from the unit as well as power. This system has been successfully tested using AC video signal coupled with high voltage DC power. To improve the design t is recommended to clean up the wiring and mounting of the electrical systems as well as construct and test the LED lighting system. The mechanical design can be improved by strengthening some of the connections and supports as well as several wire ports need to added to integrate the required battery housing and electrical systems.

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