by Lev KISELEV, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), chief research fellow of the Institute of Marine Technologies, RAS Far-Eastern Branch (Vladivostok)
Studies of oceans and seas at great depths is impossible without complicated equipment and, in particular, unmanned underwater apparatuses. Today such intelligent robots suitable for the widest range of scientific, commercial, military and other purposes are no longer a curiosity, as two or three decades ago, but each of them is unique in its own way, and its creation requires solution of many intricate scientific and engineering problems.
OCEAN DEPTHS-INVITING TERRA INCOGNITA
The first generations of underwater robots created in the 1970s were intended, first of all, for accomplishment of survey and exploratory missions, in particular, provision of echolocation and photographic surveying of the bottom to detect objects, which had an accident at sea. The later models were developed for other needs, for instance, for geological prospecting or topographic survey of bottom relief (for example, the autonomous underwater apparatus Hugin, built in the Norwegian Center of Marine Technologies in 1995-1998 and designed for work at depths up to 3,000 m). Such apparatuses can be of paramount importance in mineral exploration in areas of seas and oceans, which are notable for exceptional diversity of the bottom relief and processes of volcanic activity. They can also be used for detailed studies of hydrothermal systems, located on the slopes of underwater volcanoes and in the Earth crust fractures. Extensive works are carried out in this field, in particular, in the Republic of Korea. The specialists used the OKRO-6000 autonomous unmanned underwater apparatus developed under a joint (with DAEWOO company) Russian-Korean project.
Practical experience in development of underwater robots for the said needs is still rather modest, and com-
plex engineering experiments are required. Apart from the discus ... Читать далее