Galapagos Research: Is OpenRov up to the task?


I am collecting data in the Galapagos Islands on the distribution and productivity of macroalgae, which can be found in depths exceeding 100m. I am interested in using OpenROV as a tool for preliminary surveys of the seafloor, to determine locations most suitable for deploying divers to collect data and samples. The currents here can be strong and unpredictable (an ROV was lost here recently exploring deep-water kelp forests), and I am curious both about the capabilities of the standard propulsion system on the OpenROV, and about retrofits to improve these capabilities. This technology is great, and I'm excited to put one in the water!



Hey Paul, This sounds really exciting! We haven't had the ROV to that depth yet, but the design goal has always been 100m.

I'm not sure the 1st generation OpenROV would be up to the task. Perhaps after we design better props and a method for sending AC power to the ROV. Both doable, and possible in the near future.


In addition to what David said, the first version of the OpenROV doesn't have an interal stabilization mechanism and no side propellers, so in case of strong side currents it might not be stable enough... but loosing it will be difficult as you will still have a tether attached to it


Can you tell us what type of ROV was lost, and if possible any info about how it was lost? We want to learn from OTHERS mistakes!



They have tested to 300' with the 2.5 design. The limitation you may run into the ability to fight the current, you may have to make pseudo-drift dives. Also sensing/sample taking is not part of the current build, several members are working on custom solutions.

The current tether is not designed to withstand a great pulling force like that of an anchored boat vs. high current. There are community suggestions such as threading the wiring down a hollow core rope that may be of use to you.


VideoRay unit. Trapped and lost in ~60m when cable snapped in high current.


The project that rov was working on:


If 2.5 can go to 300', please come and try it here. Fly into GPS. You can stay for 3 months on a tourist visa. I would like to build one using materials as locally sourced as possible, and am researching a structural buildup now. The project unit would be used to scout mesophotic benthic habitats prior to diver surveys. At the same time, you could use your personal unit for something less exciting, like counting hammerheads or measuring whale sharks......


Hi Paul,

FYI - there has been some rumors that the end caps are being redesigned for the new v. 2.6. Also you should send a message to Eric S. about your invitation, he seems very well traveled.