Citizen Forensic Scientists: A Case for OpenROV Search & Rescue Efforts?


#1

Last week, Local 2 News in Houston, TX reported that a team of volunteer divers from search and rescue non-profit Texas Equusearch investigated several sunken cars in Brays Bayou. Two years ago, Tim Miller's team identified 127 cars submerged within the Brays, Sims, and Buffalo Bayous using sonar technology. The rusting cars are not only environmental hazards, but could possibly contain unidentified bodies trapped inside.


Sonar image of two submerged vehicles.

Houston police authorities are dismissing investigation of these cars as being too expensive and time-intensive, with no guarantee of gaining conclusive evidence towards crimes or missing person's reports. Indeed, raising and investigating every car in the bayous, all of questionable structural integrity, would be a challenging task for the police. A more cost-effective solution could involve deploying OpenROVs into the bayous in search of identifying features of each car (model, year, and license plate) for further investigation. There's also the additional safety advantage of using an ROV in lieu of a dive team.


Texas Equusearch Volunteer Dive Team

Tim Miller and Texas Equusearch are currently lobbying for support and donations to take their search efforts further. It's an interesting, yet eerie thing to think about...how many of these cars might contain clues to unsolved crimes?


Sources:

http://boingboing.net/2014/05/23/more-than-100-cars-sunk-in-hou.html

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Sonar-pictures-reveal-more-than-100-vehicles-sunk-5474530.php#item-29514

http://www.click2houston.com/news/local-2-goes-into-houston-bayous-to-find-submerged-vehicles/26065658


#2

This sounds like a great idea!