VESSEL REVIEW | Aurora – Versatile, deep-diving ROV for Norwegian research non-profit

Photo: REV Ocean

Norwegian marine research non-profit REV Ocean has begun operating a new type of work-class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that was designed to be capable of reaching depths of as much as 6,000 metres.

Named Aurora, the craft has a length of 2.75 metres, a beam of 1.7 metres, a displacement of 4,250 kilograms, a payload capacity of 250 kilograms, four thrusters, and an endurance of 12 hours. REV Ocean claims that the ROV’s deep-diving capability enables it to access 98 per cent of the ocean.

The ROV’s manipulator arms are equipped with delicate pincers for taking targeted samples, ensuring samples are preserved well enough to permit accurate analysis.

There is a wide range of payload options for carrying utility equipment such as a skid front drawer with dual sampling chambers, pushcores and bladecores, a slurp sampler with multi-chamber container, a gas sampler, niskin bottles, geochemical and oceanographic sensors, and a multibeam system for centimetre-scale imaging of the ocean floor.

Photo: REV Ocean

The craft also comes equipped with seven high-definition cameras. High-power LED lighting helps enhance visibility during operations at greater depths.

Aurora is designed for deployment through a larger vessel’s moonpool and is equipped with a large tether management system (TMS) with fixed and pan/tilt cameras and lights for observing ROV operations. Additional sensors can also be mounted to the TMS to facilitate increased coverage of underwater activities. All power distributed to external users, such as lights, cameras and sensors can be switched on and off from the topside computer and are equipped with individual fuses. When a sensor is switched off, its corresponding subsea connector is galvanic isolated, thus preventing the flow of unwanted current.

Aurora was designed and built by Norwegian unmanned systems specialist Kystdesign. The ROV has already begun operations with REV Ocean, and its initial deployment was to the Aurora hydrothermal vent field in the Arctic Ocean. Operating from the Norwegian icebreaking research vessel Kronprins Haakon, the ROV became the first vessel of its kind to dive successfully to the vent field, which lies at a depth of 4,000 metres under permanent ice cover.

During its deployment to the same vent field, Aurora also collected geological, geochemical, physical, and biological samples to help scientists understand the processes driving these vent systems.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on unmanned craft.

Type of vessel:ROV – Research
Owner:REV Ocean, Norway
Designer:Kystdesign, Norway
Builder:Kystdesign, Norway
Length overall:2.75 metres
Beam:1.7 metres
Displacement:4,250 kilograms
Capacity:250 kilograms
Other equipment installed:Manipulator arms; drawer; sampling chambers;
External lighting:LED

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