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Dual Vehicle Operations a Sign of the Future in Seafloor Exploration

December 1, 2005

Deploying two or more underwater vehicles from a single vessel makes better use of ship time and personnel, but requires specific technical capabilities and careful scheduling.  In the past, one vehicle has been recovered before the other was deployed, and they used different navigation systems.  During the VISONS’05 cruise on the Juan de Fuca Ridge in September,  scientists and engineers successfully operated the Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) and the Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason II at the same time. ABE made detailed maps of a section of the Endeavour segment of the ridge while surveying a cable route for the Neptune undersea observatory. Jason II serviced seismic instruments, performed water sampling, drilling, installed in situ experiments, and filmed the seafloor in high definition, sent back ashore by satellite in real time and shared over the Internet with researchers and the public at sites in the U.S, and Canada.  ABE was able to rest and conserve battery power by anchoring to the seafloor on a short mooring.

T31B-0508   0800h   Simultaneous Deep-Ocean Operations with Autonomous and Remotely Operated Vehicles