UNF Professor Gets Grant for ROV Development

Dr. Bill Dally, an associate professor in the School of Engineering at the University of North Florida, was awarded a grant for more than $500,000 by the National Science Foundation to develop an amphibious remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for coastal research and education.

The vehicle will allow on site measurements during storm events and under other hazardous conditions, such as oil and chemical spills and pathogen outbreaks.

“A major obstacle in gaining this knowledge is the inability to safely make observations and measurements in the surf zone, a hostile environment characterized by large breaking waves, strong currents, intense turbulence and high turbidity,” said Dally. “The ROV can be equipped with a wide variety of instruments and observational equipment, as well as used to conduct highly accurate surveys in the surf zone and nearshore.”

Dally plans to design a bottom-crawling ROV, propelled by four hydraulically driven tracks, which will be powered by a snorkel-aspirated diesel engine. The snorkel will be equipped with drag-reducing cowlings to reduce both power requirements and impact loads from breaking waves. Also, the vehicle will carry antennas for radio control, data communications and video feed, as well as suitable equipment for positioning and for accurate bathymetric surveying, UNF explained.

Dally’s goal is for the ROV to be commercially manufactured and to be affordable for most universities, government agencies and commercial interests, UNF added.