Needed Improvements to the 2008 ROV
Many things worked well on the 2008 ROV but some did not. Here are some of my opinions about what needs fixing.
Issue Description of Problem Potential Solution(s) Possible Things To Do
Tether The tether (bunched cables connecting to the ROV) was thick and heavy. This increases inertia and drag on the ROV, affecting navigation and handling. Use microcontrollers (computers) above and below water to control the motors, read sensors, replacing the need for individual tether cabling to each motor and sensor. Build and test computer-motor system, including a 100% reliable waterproof container.
Speed The ROV body/shape was not streamlined or designed to reduce drag and was heavy due to the mass of parts included. Make a more compact, lightweight design, develop better propeller system Test various propeller sizes, shapes, housings to maximize thrust. Reduce ROV size and mass. Improve design to suit function of getting more/all competition points.
Manipulator There was no mechanical system to retrieve or manipulate objects. Need a mechanical hand Develop, test a computer-controlled gripper system.
Buoyancy Control ROV had a bit too much buoyancy. Lead weights had to be added to make it just barely float. These increased the mass and made it slower to accelerate, rotate. It used soft foam to adjust buoyancy. This is bad underwater where the foam is compressed and you lose buoyancy (maybe can't came back to the surface!). Need a compressed gas buoyancy system to assist/speedup up/down movement. Eliminate use of soft foam for ROV buoyancy. Do buoyancy calculations to eliminate guesswork and minimize testing and re-engineering time. Don't hesitate to re-think and re-engineer the design as parts are added. Develop, test air-driven ballast tank system. Avoid use of lead weights and soft foam to adjust buoyancy.
Navigation Motors were controlled by 3 toggle switches. Sometimes the wrong switches were thrown to accomplish a movement. Cameras were not necessarily in the best position to view the surroundings. Need a joystick-like control. Develop and test a microcontroller, joystick, motor system to run the ROV motors. Position 2 or more cameras strategically on the ROV or buy a 4-view or motor-driven underwater camera.
Hovering Some tasks require the ROV to stay at a level in the water. Up/down motors had to be continually reversed to maintain level. Need a variable speed up/down motor system. Develop, test a variable pulsed motor power system for up/down motion.