Underwater Vehicles

The ocean floor is as remote as the moon and requires equipment that is just as specialized in order to explore it!


Submersibles are constructed to deal with the enormous pressures of deep ocean exploration.


Mini-submarines (manned by 3 or fewer people) have been used to explore the Kermadec Arc and other parts of New Zealand’s undersea continent (image on right).

The one shown here, on the left, can go down to a depth of 1900m, stay down for 7-10 hours, and has such equipment as video cameras, lights, robotic arms for taking samples and sonar among others.

Remote operated vehicle

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

Unmanned vehicles do not have anyone aboard. They are smaller and more maneuverable, like an underwater robot.

Remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) are controlled by a person aboard a vessel. They are linked to the ship by a tether, a group of cables that carry electrical power, video and data signals back and forth between the operator and the vehicle.

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) operate independently of direct human input.