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Subsea Technology:

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

In the early 1960’s Shell Oil started development of the first ROV, named “Mobot” that was tethered to the surface and equipped with a TV eye, sonar, gyrocompass, thrusters and hydraulic arms.  It operated somewhat successfully; however, through the remaining 1960’s into the late 1970’s the industry used manned manipulator bells, manned submersibles and “eyeball” only ROVs.  During this period, service companies worked on integrating sophisticated electronics and hydraulics into the ROV concept but with oilfield robustness. 

In 1976 and 1977 a number of companies made significant advances in the development of ROV technology with a number of models (Deep Drone, Scorpio, SCARAB, Hysub and TROV) being used in the oilfield, government programs and in research though they had many technical and operating problems.  The development of the Hysub ROV by ISE and Perry was the technical foundation of today’s ROVs.  The development of launch system with subsea top hat tether management systems and “cages” also allowed deployment in rougher environmental conditions with less risk of damage or loss.  The industry also developed “tooling” that interfaced with sophisticated subsea equipment that had touch and load arm feedback.  Consolidation of companies (Oceaneering and Solas Ocean Systems, etc.) in the 1980s provided the critical mass to move the industry forward.  Following years saw ROVs become more capable, versatile, reliable and powerful where almost every floating drilling rig and construction project offshore today uses them on a daily basis. 

Recognizing the pioneering efforts of the following individuals and organizations that contributed to this technology:

Bruce Watkins, Howard Shatto, Richard “Dick’ Frisbie, Drew Michel, Walter Gray,

Herb Newberry, Hydro Products, Sub Sea International (now Subsea 7), Ametek (Straza Division),  British Petroleum (now BP), International Submarine Engineering (ISE) Ltd.,  Oceaneering International Inc., Ocean System Engineering Ltd, Perry Oceanographic (now Perry Slingsby Systems, A member of the Triton Group), Phillips Petroleum (now ConocoPhillips), Saab Underwater Systems, Shell Oil Co. and Taylor Diving.


2011 Call for Nominations
2011 Industry Pioneer Nomination Form 
2011 Technology Pioneer Nomination Form

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