Mechanized devices undertake increasingly more measuring tasks in the field of marine research which up until now could only be carried out with the assistance of research vessels. For example, freely drifting bouys with sensors attached, or sampling platforms which are deployed for a certain length of time on the sea floor, fall into this category.
A significant increase in the spectrum of operations is attained with the assistance of active powered vehicles. They can either dive like submarines through the water column or move forwards across the sea floor by wheelpower. Since both systems operate completely independently of a vessel they have to be equipped with a reliable navigation und control system. The particular advantage of actively powered vehicles lies in the ability to operate them in regions which are otherwise difficult to reach e.g. under ice.
Each system has been developed with specific characteristics and therefore the range of application differs from system to system:
Prototype of the ExoMars Rover: Chassis Demonstrator, DLR
- limited area of operation (up to several km)
- long operation period
- local, near ground measurements and sampling of the sea floor
With the increasing demand for the use of these vehicles not only in scientific but also in commercial fields, the technical requirements of the system will increase. Along with optimizing the energy supply as the basis for longer term operations, above all the navigation and communication systems have to be improved.
Development of a special purpose, cable guided
vehicle with wheel propulsion for the investigation
of a sunken ship (Bedford Institute of Oceanography,