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Videoray - News - March 23, 2005

Underwater Robot Collides with Propeller During Homeland Security Mission Inspecting Oil Tanker

Demonstrates compelling reasons for not putting divers at risk for inspections

A US Government Agency was doing a routine inspection of an oil tanker last week when conditions caused their underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to collide with the propeller on their boat. The impact was sufficiently severe that one of the light domes on the VideoRay ROV was completely severed.

Had circumstances been different and a human diver had been in the water, the results of this kind of accident would be quite tragic. However, despite the severity of the collision, the $20,000 ROV suffered comparatively little damage.

Scott Bentley, the president of VideoRay LLC, commented, "Obviously, things went wrong for a VideoRay to get caught in a prop. However, the operators did the right thing after the accident occurred, immediately powering down the unit and rinsing off the flooded interior. None of the cameras or electronics were damaged - and we returned the unit to them one day after we received it for repair. Since the unit involved was purchased with our 'Comprehensive Support and Maintenance' plan, which covers damage from accidents during operations, there was no cost to the agency. In fact, had they requested it, we would have given them a loaner during the few days they were without a unit." VideoRay LLC designed and manufactured the unit, and won the contract to provide this unit and 4 others along with training and support.

The important lesson from this incident is the fact that putting VideoRays at risk when the job needs to be done is acceptable – even desirable. This VideoRay suffered perhaps the worst fate imaginable – sucked into a high powered prop. However, since the operators did the right thing after the accident, VideoRay was able to do the repairs at a retail cost of less than $2000. And the cost to the user – including shipping and incidental costs – was zero.

Information on the incident, plus pictures of the unit, can be found on . ( )


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