Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) can map the sea floor, explore the ocean depths for scientists, and locate shipwrecks for archeologists. ROVs are essential to the development of offshore oil and gas reserves below ocean waters 3,000 to 4,000 meters deep. They were critical in repairing heavy damage inflicted on subsea facilities after the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some of the ROVs used for deep work can be massive -- about 5,000 kilograms -- and can come equipped with a variety of robot arms, thrusters, cameras, and other equipment. Schilling Robotics makes an ROV of this class that it markets under the trademark ultra heavy duty. ROVs often work 24/7 and require operating crews to work in shifts. ROV control rooms are located in drilling or production platforms or in ships. The ability of ROVs to give a close-up look at the sea floor can play a role not only in commercial activities, but also in monitoring the health of the undersea environment.
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