How robots are used to map the deep

underwater-robotWhilst airborne drones have understandable received the bulk of the attention in recent years, there has also been a number of exciting projects that have used robots underwater.  We’ve seen projects that have used underwater drones to map the coastline, protect coral reef, perform search and rescue, or to simply better explore the deep ocean.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on, and a team from Plymouth University are the latest to use robotic devices to understand the seas.  They have used a robot to produce the first ever footage of marine life on the tallest underwater mountain in the UK.

Deep Links

The footage was captured as part of the Deep Links project led by the University in partnership with the University of Oxford, British Geological Survey and the JNCC.  The footage was taken by one of the most advanced machines in the world over a six week period.

“Exploring the deep sea is like exploring space, it is extremely difficult and limited by technology. The Isis ROV has allowed us unprecedented access to this unique and wonderful part of the UK’s marine area. The pictures and video bought back reveal a stunningly biodiverse environment, with many species observed likely new to science. While the samples we have been able to collect with this robot are of outstanding quality. We will spend the next two years analysing all the data seeking to understand the inter-relation of these species at different locations,” the researchers say.

The footage, which was taken over 1km below sea level, was possible because of adances in both HD video technology and robotics.  The robot used for the project was the Autosub 6000, which is capable of mapping the sea in extremely high resolution.

It’s often said that we know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the seabed, and it will be fascinating to see the role robots play in furthering out understanding of the oceans.

Check out the video below to see some of the footage taken.

 

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