World's most advanced deep-sea robot ready to dive

"ROV Kiel 6000" is designed to explore deep areas of the ocean

Deep diving robot "ROV Kiel 6000" of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences © Karsten Witkiewicz / IFM-GEOMAR
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The new diving robot of the Kiel Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) has successfully passed the last tests and is now waiting for its first use in the open sea. With a depth of up to 6, 000 meters and equipped with innovative technologies, the "ROV Kiel 6000" is the most modern of its kind in the world. "ROV" stands for "Remotely Operated Vehicle", a remote-controlled underwater vehicle via a fiber-optic cable.

"The tests went very well, " says Professor Colin Devey, Project Manager at IFM-GEOMAR, "we are convinced that the manufacturer has built us an excellent vehicle". Thomas Kuhn, Scientific Coordinator of "ROV Kiel 6000" reports, "It was very exciting to see how the device made the steps from the blueprint into reality. For us researchers, completely new horizons open up to pursue important questions in the marine sciences. "

Objective: Mapping of the seafloor

The mere fact that more than 90 percent of the world ocean's ocean floor can be reached with a depth of 6, 000 meters represents a new dimension for the marine sciences in Germany. "This allows us to address burning questions about the future development and use of the oceans: climate change, Raw materials, new energies and CO2 dumping as well as risk research are in the foreground. The "ROV Kiel 6000" is equipped with state-of-the-art digital observation technology for the high-resolution mapping of the seabed and can carry out measurements and experiments with the help of two electro-hydraulic gripping arms in the deep sea as well as taking water, sediment and rock samples. Data and images are sent in real time telemetrically with the 6, 500 meter long fiber-optic cable to the scientists in the control room on board the ship, "says Professor Peter Herzig, Director of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences.

"While our manned submersible JAGO allows us to study coral reefs, sub-volcanoes or coastal regions optimally, the" ROV Kiel 6000 "allows us to explore the really deep areas of the ocean."

ROV seaworthy

After an extensive technical inspection by the manufacturer in California, Germanischer Lloyd certified the high-tech device of the top class on June 10, 2007, the seaworthiness. In addition to technical properties such as stability, maneuverability and the functionality of complex electronic systems, the designers also had to prove that safety-relevant aspects of the operation are guaranteed. display

The next deep-sea test for the diving robot is in August 2007 on the research vessel "Sonne" in the Pacific Ocean. This is followed by the first uses of research expeditions led by the IFM-GEOMAR on hydrothermal springs in the Central Atlantic. In January 2008, the ROV will finally arrive at the home institute in Kiel.

The high-tech device costs in the basic configuration about 3.2 million euros. In addition, about 1.5 million euros were invested in the various technical systems, which were mainly supplied by companies in the country. The state of Schleswig-Holstein provided the total investment of 4.7 million euros as part of a special subsidy from the Schleswig-Holstein Fund.

(idw - Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences, Kiel, 14.06.2007 - DLO)