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Mini ROVs: The Underwater Inspection Game Changer

Right from the early 1950s, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) have been used for a variety of science, military, and salvage missions. These missions include photographing deep-sea animals, recovering torpedoes from the ocean floor, servicing underwater oil & gas structures, and locating historic ship-wrecks.

The need for a smaller version of the ROV arose due to the need for increased portability, the necessity to penetrate harder to reach areas and to possess more versatility.
The answer to these problems came in the form of the Mini Rover ROV, the world’s first small, low cost remotely operated underwater vehicle. It was designed and built by Chris Nicholson of Deep Sea Systems International, Inc. in 1983.
Self-propelled, tethered, and free swimming, the Mini Rover ROV measured 26 inches in length, weighed 55 pounds and immediately showed its value in cost savings.
The size and portability of the Mini Rover ROV made it easy to deploy for a multitude of uses such as underwater technical inspections, undersea expeditions, movie-making and emergency situations.

Over the years, there have been many other Mini ROVs from multiple vendors and they are being used in an increasing number of industries, most notably the oil and gas industry where underwater inspection is one of the popular applications of Mini ROVs.

A few examples of situations where Mini ROVs are used in the oil and gas industry are:

  • General visual inspections of underwater structures
  • Underwater Inspection In Lieu of Dry-docking (UWILD)
  • Diver assistance or monitoring
  • Underwater pipeline inspections
  • Tank inspections

To learn more about how Mini ROVs can be used, visit RusselSmith’s Subsea Services section.

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