ROVs, also known as Remotely Operated Vehicle, are used for underwater search and rescue, along with diving operations. For example, search activities using ROVs were reported in the media for the 2022 Shiretoko sightseeing boat sinking accident and the 2023 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter crash on Miyakojima.

The ROV used in these searches is a large, high-performance aircraft. On the other hand, in recent years, inexpensive and compact ROVs have appeared, and are expected to be used in a variety of locations and applications, such as rivers, lakes, and ports.

Advanced ROVs are kind of like a drone, except they are controlled manually.

ROV used in search and rescue 

Underwater search and rescue operations are highly difficult and involve many risks. Divers typically work at depths of up to 30 meters, and the deeper they go, the shorter their diving time. Diving to deeper depths is possible with special training, but this puts a great strain on the diver’s body. Therefore, ROVs are expected to be used to ensure the safety of divers.

● Ensuring safe work

As mentioned earlier, underwater search and rescue operations place a heavy burden on divers’ bodies. There are also dangers underwater, such as water currents, currents, poor visibility, and darkness. By using an ROV, you can work while avoiding these dangers.

● Achieving long and efficient work

ROVs can work for long periods of time. In particular, powered ROVs can continue to be used as long as the power supply continues. Equipped with options also improves work efficiency. For example, by using sonar, you can find something even in poor visibility conditions. It is also equipped with a manipulator, which allows it to pull up whatever it is you are looking for.

Sonar is a device that uses sound waves that propagate underwater to detect information about objects underwater or on the bottom of the water.

● Recording of site information

By deploying an ROV to a search site, it is possible to collect information on the scene using cameras and sonar. This will help create more detailed search and rescue plans and improve the accuracy of future search and rescue operations.



Search and rescue case study 

The ROV mainly consists of a camera to view underwater images, a sonar when underwater visibility is poor, and a manipulator for rescue. Here, we will introduce examples from the perspective of cameras, sonar, and manipulators.

(1) Example using only a camera

Case details: “Searching for a person who fell in ice-covered water”

① Used when the ice thickness is 20 cm, the water temperature is 0 degrees, and the temperature is below freezing.

② Search by diving under the ice.

③A water area survey of 240,000m2 was conducted for two consecutive days.

④The person who fell was confirmed 75m away from the point of fall.

(2) Example using camera and sonar

Case study: “Reservoir diver search and rescue”

① A diver goes missing while exploring underwater ruins.

② Identify the search location using the ship’s multi-beam sonar.

③Decide the route and search with ROV.

④ A diver and an oxygen cylinder were found.

(3) Examples of using cameras, sonar, and manipulators

Case details: “Deep diver search and rescue”

① A freediving accident occurred in a pond with a maximum depth of 257m.

② Search begins using ROV.

③The searcher was confirmed at a depth of 226.5m using the sonar mounted on the ROV.

④ Check the clothes of the searcher using the camera. A manipulator is used to secure and pull up the safety rope around the searcher’s wrist.

The MOGOOL series is powered and has a power thruster, which provides high propulsion, so it can be equipped with the options necessary for search and rescue. This model is suitable for long-term searches. If you are considering introducing an ROV for underwater search and rescue, such as the Self-Defense Forces, Japan Coast Guard, fire department, police station, or salvage company.

To reach the Global Drone News editorial team on your feedback, story ideas and pitches, contact us here.

Translate »

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)