A submersible craft, the Titan, with five crew members aboard, traveled under the ocean to explore the wreak of the Titanic, the famed ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sank. The Titan became lost after it went down 12,500 feet under the ocean, and an international rescue operation was mounted.
One of the efforts was the French robot Victor 6000, which is capable of diving as far as 20,000 feet below the surface.
If the Victor 6000 found the vessel in time, it would have been able to attach a cable to it or to cut away obstacles if it had gotten stuck. It can’t bring the Titan up, but it could collaborate with some larger ship with the capacity to tow the submersible to safety.
The Victor is controlled remotely from the ship l’Atlante. It has a robust lighting system and lots of video capability, and can transmit visual information to the ship.
A Canadian robot was also deployed to search.
However, on Thursday the Guardian reported that the Victor 6000 has returned images that appear to be debris from the Titan. Experts suggest that the debris looks as though there was a “catastrophic loss of pressure.” No survivors have been found.
The wreck of the Titanic was found by an undersea robot, the Argo, in 1985.
Undersea work, including search and rescue operations, is an obvious choice for automation. The pressure, the cold, and of course the water itself all make the environment unwelcoming for humans. Robots can be more adaptable to deep ocean water.
Undersea robots have been used in many explorations in the past. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are used to gather research materials. Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) like the Victor 6000 allow direct but safe underwater observation by humans.
Underwater rescue robots for individuals have become commonplace. These robots are intended to help distressed swimmers or people who have fallen overboard. Many different shapes are available, but some of the most common are zippy red triangles or cylinders.