Proceedings PaperOptimizing Optics For Remotely Controlled Underwater Vehicles
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The past decade has shown a dramatic increase in the use of unmanned tethered vehicles in worldwide marine fields. These vehicles are used for inspection, debris removal and object retrieval. With advanced robotic technology, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are now able to perform a variety of jobs previously accomplished only by divers. The ROVs can be used at greater depths and for riskier jobs, and safety to the diver is increased, freeing him for safer, more cost-effective tasks requiring human capabilities. Secondly, the ROV operation becomes more cost effective to use as work depth increases. At 1000 feet a diver's 10 minutes of work can cost over $100,000 including support personnel, while an ROV operational cost might be 1/20 of the diver cost per day, based on the condition that the cost for ROV operation does not change with depth, as it does for divers. In the ROV operation the television lens must be as good as the human eye, with better light gathering capability than the human eye. The RCV-150 system is an example of these advanced technology vehicles. With the requirements of manueuverability and unusual inspection, a responsive, high performance, compact vehicle was developed. The RCV-150 viewing subsystem consists of a television camera, lights, and topside monitors. The vehicle uses a low light level Newvicon television camera. The camera is equipped with a power-down iris that closes for burn protection when the power is off. The camera can pan f 50 degrees and tilt f 85 degrees on command from the surface. Four independently controlled 250 watt quartz halogen flood lamps illuminate the viewing area as required; in addition, two 250 watt spotlights are fitted. A controlled nine inch CRT monitor provides real time camera pictures for the operator. The RCV-150 vehicle component system consists of the vehicle structure, the vehicle electronics, and hydraulic system which powers the thruster assemblies and the manipulator. For this vehicle, a light weight, high response hydraulic system was developed in a very small package.