With the development of ever more powerful micro-computers, the cost and capabilities of robotic systems for environmental surveying using remotely control systems continues to decrease and improve. Historically, submarine exploration was restricted to companies or organisations with considerable finances and resources; however, the last decade has seen the advent of ‘low cost’ remotely operated vehicles (ROV). These cost anywhere from $400-$40,000 and provide an opportunity for wider participation in ocean exploration. However, with 60% of the world's seafloor lying at depths in excess of 1000 m and current low cost ROVs typiclly depth limited to just 100 m, there is presently an inability to “go deep” affordably. This review assesses the state of the art for deep ROV technologies and identifies the primary technological hurdles to overcome in order to facilitate proliferation of low cost ROVs for deep ocean exploration with an emphasis on their application to mineral and ore prospecting.
- Marine mining
- Marine technology
- Remotely operated vehicle (ROV)
- Seafloor massive sulfide (SMS)