What is ROV? Its Applications and How to select the best one?

  • 3 years   ago
Remote Operated Vehicle
ROV(Remote Operated Vehicle)

Remote Operated Vehicle, or ROV, is an unoccupied underwater vehicle remotely operated by a crew either on a vessel or on land; it is linked with a network of cables to establish a connection between the operators and the vehicle. Available in several shapes and sizes, ROVs find their use in various industries, including aquaculture enterprises, research, offshore energy corporations, and many more.

Scroll down to find everything associated with ROVs—how many types are there? What are its applications, and which one to buy? 

Types of ROVs: 

Depending on the size, potential, performance, and power, ROVs are of different types: 

  1. Micro ROVs: these are small, compact machines (usually, 3Kg) and deployed as an alternative to human divers; their modest size allows inspection of tiny spaces like sewage, pipelines, and canals. 

  2. Mini ROVs: these have the same use as the micro and are slightly bigger (usually, 15Kg); still, one person can handle and operate it. 

  3. Observational ROVs: used for inspection and data gathering, these ROVs can go as deep as 1000 meters; Observational Class ROVs, besides cameras, have sonar and other data collection sensors. 

  4. Light Work class ROVs: ideal for depths up to 2000 meters, Light Work class ROVs have a propulsion speed of 50hp; used for inspections and repairs (with the help of manipulators). 

  5. Heavy Work class ROVs: having a propulsion speed of 220hp, these ROVs can go as deep as 3500 meters and can carry two manipulators if need be. 

  6. Trenching class ROVs: capable of diving up to 5000-7000 meters, these ROVs find their use in subsea cable laying; usually, they have a propulsion speed of 200hp to 500hp (and go up when it's custom made). 

Applications of ROV 

ROVs are making a splash in Aquaculture. 

The aquaculture industry has matured into one of the fastest-growing food production sectors, and the primary reason for this upscale curve is technological innovations such as ROVs. Today, fish farmers, both on an individual plus the multi-chain level, are engaging ROVs to cut costs and increase productivity. ROVs: 

  • Provide better inspection of the net and underwater infrastructure. 

  • Help in understanding fish behavior; critical in classifying infectious disease. 

  • ROVS are well-equipped with digger and lifter tools to retrieve morts efficiently. 


Navy utilizes ROVs for Minesweeping.

Earlier, the EOD teams of the Navy used to rely on divers to identify and locate mines. These raised many challenges as the divers could only dive to a few areas, and their search would take much time as they couldn't be in the water for much longer than 30-60 minutes. However, with the addition of remote-powered submersible cameras, they can track and review the potential underwater threats more accurately and navigate areas that weren't reachable to human divers. 

ROVs are improving deep-sea oceanographic research.

Over the years, numerous species of plants and marine animals like Stellamedusa Ventana (jellyfish) have been discovered with the help of ROVs. Being light and able to navigate the high current, ROVs are helping the scientist study the seafloor and get a good understanding of the marine wildlife. Moreover, ROVs are also helping in analyzing the sea animals who are shy and do not like the presence of a human alongside them. 

ROVs are the new tool of Marine Hobbyists. 

As ROVs are becoming more cost-effective, not only communities but also individuals are taking curiosity in them. Individuals who have much interest in the Ocean are utilizing ROVs for exploration. 

Other Uses 


  • State municipalities are utilizing ROVs for routine checkups of the canals and sewage systems; this helps them identify any leakages and maintain the infrastructure. 

  • Offshore drilling plants employ ROVs for regular inspection of the structure and surroundings. 

  • ROVs find their use in the ports for monitoring the hulls for safe transit of the ships. 

  • Many filmmakers and documentarians utilize ROVs to take underwater shots and capture footage of the wildlife. 

  • Diving Schools are employing ROVs to monitor the students and also accompany them when underwater when they are exploring. 


How to Select the best ROV?

ROVs come in various shapes and sizes. Depending on the use, their features differ widely; however, there some essential requirements that an ROV must-have. Here are things that you should look for when selecting the perfect underwater exploration tool: 

1. Robustness 

The quality of the outer shell is the most critical thing of an ROV; after all, they have to overcome numerous underwater obstacles like rocks and debris. Plus, the waves and strong currents are other influential hurdles. So, the first that you should look up in an ROV is its constructions, how well it is in succeeding these difficulties. The material used on the outer structure will tell you a lot about its durability. The standard material used is often anodized Aluminium, as it is not only capable but also lightweight. But today, most of the ROV manufacturers are also utilizing polycarbonate; the metal is suitable for deep-sea exploration, while the plastic one is suitable for inspection in the aquaculture industry and inquiry in the upper seabed. Moreover, you should also look if the manufacturers tested the robustness of the ROV or not. 



2. Convenient to Handle

Remote Operated Vehicle, or ROV, is a remote-powered device, so another influential factor that decides how good an ROV is its ease of use.   Standardized controls on the remote, aside from allowing you to control the vehicle, should also enable you to regulate the functionality. Due to technological advancement, remotes are becoming small and more operative, but many manufacturers have machines that require more than one person to handle the device; such ROVs are a no-go. Moreover, you should also inquire if it requires training to control the machine; this will indicate that the remote is easy to handle or not. 



3. Manageability and adaptability 

After all, an ROV has to station in the harsh environment of the sea; while its ability to survive is one thing, its capability to work is the most influential determinant. The maneuverability of the ROV should be distinguished, and it should be capable of moving in small spaces. The ROV should also have the ability to withstand the freezing temperatures of the sea. Also, give attention to portability and handling of the ROV; meaning, it is easy to carry or not. 



4. Price

Be it the individual fish farmer or the researchers dependent on a grant, the cost of the equipment is a notable factor. As there are many manufacturers, you are likely to get an ROV for its optimum prices. But again, do a little research and find out if the price demanded is decent or not. But again, you do not want to pay too little and get a product of inferior quality. 


Whether you are a fish farmer or a marine enthusiast who wants to explore the depth of the ocean, an ROV will be a great addition to your endeavor.

Source: Pixabay