National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) under the aegis of Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India has developed a Mini work class Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe) for polar studies. PROVe is an unmanned, free swimming underwater vehicle.
• It is capable of probing the sea bed under normal temperature and is capable of exploring up to 200 meters deep in inhospitable and tough regions like the ice clad Antarctica
• The polar vehicle is remotely operated by scientists from the ship and has inbuilt thrusters allowing it for 360 degree movement
• It will help the researchers to study and find out details about dissolved oxygen in sea bottom, salinity and the quantity of sunlight hitting the bottom of the sea
• This will help the scientists to understand the biological activities that take place inside the sea
• PROVe will also help in easy predictions of monsoon and reading the patterns
Recently National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), for the first time, used the indigenously-developed Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe), to map the coral reefs in Andaman & Nicobar Islands (North Bay and Chidiyatapu) and that the ROV can be used for this purpose efficiently.
The ROV can effectively map 4-6 sq.km. of coral reefs in a day, whereas the same job takes about a week for a Scuba diver. The images of corals recorded by the ROV are useful to study the biodiversity of coral reefs and their evolution. The underwater visuals have shown the coral debris and boulders caused by the 2004 Tsunami, at the same time, also capturingsome locations where the rejuvenation of the colonies of branching corals, stony coral, brain corals was observed. The water temperature ranged between 31oC at surface and 30.5oC at 1 m water depth. It further decreases in deeper waters as recorded by the ROV based sensor.
The radiometer attached on the ROV provided the spectral signatures of different types of corals in Andaman. The spectral signatures of the corals are valuable in developing algorithms to map the coral reefs using sensing techniques, especially the satellite remote sensing.