Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are unmanned submersibles that have been developed to overcome the limitations of human subsea divers. The first tethered ROV, Poddle, was built in 1953 by the French inventor Dimitri Rebikoff who specialised in the design of underwater cameras.
This idea of a remotely controlled robot was soon expanded on by the US military who began development of Cable-controlled Undersea Recovery Vehicles, with the CURV-I first being used in 1966 for the recovery of an atomic bomb lost in a plane crash in the Mediterranean Sea. The third model, the CURV-III, also gained attention in 1973 when it was used to perform the deepest underwater rescue in history saving two Britons who were trapped 480 meters below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean near Ireland.
The commercial potential of these vehicles was soon realised by the oil and gas industry who began production and use of work-class ROVs in the 1970s. These have since developed into a wide variety of ROVs that range in size from a shoe box, that contains a camera and light for observations, to a large van, with multiple hydraulic arms capable of lifting up to 11,000 pounds or performing subsea installations.
CSD have purchased a VideoRay ROV for use in inspection work for both commercial and swimming pool jobs. This has already been used for video inspection of cofferdams in locks and pumping stations around the UK and can also be used for inspection of inaccessible balance tanks.