My thesis work involves the use of autonomous recording hydrophones, that are deployed for several months at a time.I would like to use the OpenROV to aid in the deployment and recovery of the hydrophones.
The cheapest and easiest way to deploy the hydrophones it to use anchors and floats, and attach the hydrophone along the line at the appropriate depth, but these sorts of installations often have problems with theft, vandalism and getting tangled with ships. More expensive options are moor them with subsurface floats, and use either divers to service shallow installations, or acoustic releases to release from the anchor and send the float to the surface when a signal is sent. Neither of these options are cheap,
With an ROV, I would be able to do a deployment with no surface float, and have the ROV go down and either cut the anchor line, or attach a retrieval line from the boat. Many users of acoustic releases have an ROV standing by to go down and cut lines when the release fails. With the OpenROV costing 1/2 the price of the cheapest acoustic release (not to mention the cost of the transceiver to send the release code), it could prove to be a great money saver. Even compared to divers, it wouldn't take long for the ROV to pay for itself.
With hydrophones mounted on the ROV, can be combined with the images from the camera to determine pressure levels used in echolocation, and capture behaviors related to the sounds.
Of course, it's also a really cool toy, and would be fun to play with.