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Additions to resource industry underwater robots can boost ocean discoveries

Featured image: AN ROV fitted with an arm for collecting
marine samples.
Remotely operated vehicles used by the oil and gas
sector can be enhanced to gather more scientific data, researchers
say
.

Underwater robots are regularly used by the oil and gas industry
to inspect and maintain offshore structures. The same machines
could be adapted to gather extra scientific information, thus
boosting environmental and resource management capabilities, an
Australian-led study has revealed.

Scientists from around the globe, led by Dianne McLean and Miles
Parsons from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), are
urging closer ties between industry and researchers to maximise the
use of the underwater robots, known as remotely operated vehicles
(ROVs).

In a paper
published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science
, they
identify a range of instruments that can be easily added to the
craft, including cameras, audio recorders and sample
collectors.

The information gathered will significantly increase scientific
and industry understanding of the impact of marine infrastructure,
producing benefits for ecological management and regulatory
compliance.

“This is a real win-win,†said Dr McLean. “With
some low-cost engineering and operational tweaks, industry and
science can use ROVs to fuel new scientific discoveries. For
instance, we could better understand the influence of structures
such as platforms and pipelines in marine ecosystems – to the
mutual benefit of the resource company and the
environment.â€Â


Read more here

Credit: D Jones and A Gates (co-authors)
April 16, 2020
Australian Government – Australian Institute of Marine
Science