Rovco investing in SMD’s EV Workclass ROV to boost autonomous subsea inspections

Subsea equipment manufacturer Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) and offshore services provider Rovco have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for next-generation EV Workclass ROV (WROV) technology.

According to the parties, SMD will provide Rovco with Atom EV electric WROV. It will be the first of a fleet of vehicles designed to interface with Rovco’s computer vision and AI capabilities.


The ROV is expected to provide efficiency and reduce project costs as well as enable Rovco to boost autonomous services to clients, powered by its technology spin-off Vaarst.

As described, the Atom EV WROV operates with precision in 3-knot water currents and is fitter with DC power system for high efficiency and a reduced CO2 footprint.

It also features adaptive onboard flight control which interfaces with Vaarst technology and supports future upgrades.

The Atom EV WROV will be paired with an all-electric launch and recovery system from underwater technology firm MacArtney, SMD and Rovco stated.

“Rovco and Vaarst have big plans in subsea autonomy and artificial intelligence. This fits well with SMD’s advanced underwater robotics programme and having spent nearly 5 years developing this exciting new technology we are delighted Rovco has chosen us as their next-generation subsea robotics partner“, said Mark Collins, business development director at SMD.

Simon Miller, managing director at Rovco added that with this deal “a move toward the realisation of fully autonomous ML and AI-led subsea inspections is further accelerated.