REMUS SharkCam is a specially outfitted REMUS autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with video cameras and navigational and scientific instrumentation that enable it to locate, track, and film a tagged marine animal, such as a North Atlantic white shark (great white). The vehicle is pre-programmed to home in on a signal from a transponder beacon attached to the animal and can follow it to depths of 600 meters (1,968 feet), depending on the vehicle, and in a variety of patterns and configurations.
REMUS SharkCam uses an omni-directional, ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation system to determine the range, bearing, and depth of a tagged animal. It then closes on the animal to a predetermined stand-off distance and position (left, right, above, or below) and to film it swimming and interacting with its environment with minimal interference with the animal's behavior. Another system on the vehicle permits it to communicate with scientists on the surface every 10 to 20 seconds and to receive commands from the surface to change speed, depth, or other mission parameters as necessary.
REMUS SharkCam has been tested on white sharks and basking sharks near Cape Cod and on white sharks near Guadalupe Island on the West Coast of Mexico, as well as sea turtles near Cape Cod. Plans are currently underway to use the system to follow other large marine animals. Visual and numerical data from the vehicle promise to open up new ways of studying the behavior of marine animals in the wild and the complex ways they interact with their natural habitat.