Share it with us in our photo contest and you might snag a great prize, not to mention free VideoRay swag! Find out more about the contest here.
Share it with us in our photo contest and you might snag a great prize, not to mention free VideoRay swag! Find out more about the contest here.
It didn't take long for a VideoRay Pro 4 to prove itself to the Yolo County Sheriff's Office in California. Since acquiring it in July 2019, the department has deployed the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to identify dozens of sunken vessels and participate in several search missions for drowning victims.
The latest assignment came on December 9, when the Pro 4 was dispatched to search for a 61-year-old fisherman who fell into the water from a steep embankment at Lake Berryessa, a popular recreational spot and the largest lake in Napa County.
Within two hours of the accident, Yolo's ROV team was on the scene to assist in locating the victim. Once dropped in the water, it only took the submersible 30 minutes to find the fisherman in 10 to 15 feet of water, according to Lieutenant Matthew Davis from the sheriff's office. A manipulator arm on the Pro 4 was used to help retrieve the victim, Davis noted.
He pointed out that this was the Pro 4's fifth search for a drowning victim this year, and the fourth time it was used to help recover a victim.
"Our ROV has been an asset to our agency, a number of surrounding agencies, and the public," Davis said. "To date it has performed flawlessly with no mechanical issues and little to no maintenance. Our ROV has proven itself to be a valuable asset and has assisted in providing closure to five families."
The Pro 4 was purchased with a grant from the Sacramento Regional Sanitation District. Its primary purpose is to serve as a multi-agency tool for inspecting derelict vessels, sunken vessels, and sunken debris for water clarity hazards within the Sacramento River and Delta region, according to Davis.
"Our ROV serves a secondary role as a search and recovery tool for multiple agencies along the Sacramento River and Sacramento Delta," Davis said. "The Pro 4 is also a regional and statewide search and recovery asset for the California Office of Emergency Services."
VideoRay's U.S. offices will be closed on Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25 for Christmas, and Friday, January 1 for New Year's Day.
An international technology publication has recognized VideoRay LLC as one of the most promising drone technology solution providers for 2020. CIOReview, in its second annual edition of Drone Tech, identified VideoRay as one of 20 companies "that are at the forefront of tackling the current market challenges with their disruptive solutions."
A full-page article that is focused on VideoRay and its innovations appears in Drone Tech. Here is a link to the article: https://drone.cioreview.com/vendor/2020/videoray. The article is included in the publication's print and digital editions.
CIOReview is a leading technology magazine that provides a peer-to-peer learning platform for featuring the value proposition offered by leading technology providers.
There's a good reason many agencies use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to inspect locks, dams, and reservoirs. Actually, there are at least five good reasons.
Agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have relied on VideoRay for ROVs to tackle various assignments, such as inspecting trash racks for buildup of debris. Why? Here are five things that motivate them:
Ooops! You accidentally dropped your cell phone in a lake! It's as good as gone, right? That's what a young woman in Stockholm, Sweden thought when her phone suffered that soggy fate back in August.
Fortunately, there's a very happy ending to this story, thanks to a commercial diver and his trusty VideoRay Pro 4. Not only did the diver recover the phone in 20 feet of water – it was in perfect working order!
Edvin Tousi and two of his colleagues weren't deliberately searching for the phone when they were at Lake Mälaren, just west of Stockholm, on September 27. The owner of Era Marine AB was there with his Pro 4 to check out a pontoon restaurant called Mälarpaviljongen that sits on the water. While inspecting the underside of the vessel, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) spotted the phone on the lake floor.
After fishing the device out of the water using the Pro 4's manipulator arm, Edvin place it in his boat and returned to his office a few hours later. Much to his surprise, after charging the phone, he discovered that it was in great working order.
"The funny thing was, we didn't even try to dry it," he added.
Although the device was locked, on the phone's screen was a picture of a woman and man. Edvin decided to post a photo of the phone on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, letting folks know where he found it and encouraging them to contact him if it was theirs. A few days later a local TV station picked up the story and interviewed Edvin about his unusual find.
He ultimately connected with a woman on Facebook, Olivia Frisendahl of Stockholm, who said she lost the phone the night of August 19 while at the restaurant. She jumped in the water in a vain effort to retrieve it and returned the next day with her boyfriend to search for it but came up empty-handed, Edvin said.
"She couldn't believe I found it, and couldn't believe that it still worked," he added.
Once the owner and phone were reunited, the TV station did a follow-up story and interviewed the happy couple.
Edvin noted that the Pro 4 and a VideoRay Explorer ROV that he also owns have been used to locate cars, boats, and even bicycles. He's found both submersibles to be very reliable since buying them about a year ago.
Looking for a reliable resource to better understand your VideoRay remotely operated vehicle (ROV)? Then check out our new Training Library! This is where you can find online lessons that are focused on technology, products, management, operation and maintenance of our ROVs.
There are several sections of the library that you can access. Here are tips to 5 key ones found on the main page to get started:
More tips on what's available in the Training Library will be featured in a future Insights article. Stay tuned!
Routine maintenance testing recently of a VideoRay Pro 4 off the coast of France led to an "explosive" encounter – a British mine from World War II that weighed nearly 1,800 pounds. The munition was neutralized last week by French authorities.
The mine was discovered September 14 by VideoRay's French dealer, Neotek, between Groix and Lorient at a depth of approximately 108 feet, according to news accounts.
Jean-Yves Cueff, director of Neotek, said the Pro 4 was undergoing maintenance testing as part of an ongoing contract the company has with the French Navy, which owns the submersible. During the testing, the Pro 4 picked up a sonar echo.
"The echo in the background was quite clear. Then the mini-robot (Pro 4) walked over to see what it was," Cueff was quoted as saying in a newspaper account. In this case, it was " a mine weighing more than 900 kg, of the same type as the one we found four years ago northwest of Groix."
Cueff noted that Pro 4 maintenance testing is usually conducted in an old World War II submarine base, but because the weather and waters were calm on September 14, they decided to conduct the testing in the channel between Groix and Lorient.
He explained that once the mine was picked up during the sonar scan, the Pro 4 navigated to the bomb's location based on the sonar information. Several photos were taken with the Pro 4 and sent to contacts that Neotek has with an explosive ordnance disposal diving team. In turn, the team confirmed that the large object was a mine.
When the diving team and a support crew from GPD Atlantique arrived at the mine's location last week, they freed up the bomb of sand and silt that had accumulated around it before moving the device. It was then towed approximately three nautical miles to a spot where it was detonated, according to news accounts. The location was "a firing zone regularly used by marine commandos."
Cueff said that during World War II, several mines were set up in the channel area by British and U.S. military forces to destroy German submarines operating in that vicinity. He added that he believes more mines are in the area. Whenever these devices are discovered they are always considered highly dangerous because of their explosive potential, he said.
The Pottstown Mercury, our local daily newspaper, published an article today regarding our first shipments of Defender remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems to the U.S. Navy as part of a $49 million dollar contract to deliver the Navy's Next Generation ROV. Read more about it here.
A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) can play a critical role in drowning victim recoveries. But to get the most out of the equipment, it's best to plan ahead. Here are six tips to maximize the ROV's capabilities, provided by Tom Crossmon, who owns a consulting company in Duluth, Minn., and is also a VideoRay instructor and dealer.
• Have the right tools in the toolbox. In addition to the ROV, also needed are:
o Power source – small generator, standard power outlet, or marine battery with inverter.
o Accessories – sonar, manipulator arm, etc.
• Make sure the equipment is organized, tested, and immediately mobile.
o Spend 5-10 minutes on planning setup and deployment upon arrival at the site.
o Map out your approach to tether handling.
o Make sure you have enough space on-site to operate efficiently.
• Ensure all personnel are experienced and trained. This includes:
o They are fully trained on the equipment.
o They understand basic principles of search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
o They understand the task at hand and their role in it.
• Know your role, whether it's the ROV pilot, tether handler, or maintenance worker.
• Make sure personnel safety rules are in place.
o Dress for the weather conditions.
o Personnel are equipped with personal flotation devices.
• Be prepared for recovery.
o Have the right equipment/personnel in place.
o Understand the victim's probable condition/position.
o Secure the scene from bystanders and news media to protect the privacy and decency of the victim as well as the victim's family and friends.
See why OnLogic is the "perfect fit" for VideoRay's Mission Specialist remotely operated vehicles in this case study prepared by the global computer hardware company.
October 1, 2020 – Pottstown, PA – Following up on its recent announcement of another multi-million-dollar order for Defender underwater robot systems by the U.S. Navy, VideoRay has shipped units to the naval warfare service branch.
The systems are being delivered with solutions from Greensea, Blueprint Subsea, Nortek and Eddyfi. These best-in class sensors, tooling and software are integrated onto the Defender ROV platform.
The purchase is under VideoRay's existing $49M contract to deliver the Navy's Next Generation ROV. The systems are being assembled and tested in VideoRay's Pottstown, PA facility. They will be used by the Navy for defense and security operations including very shallow water, littoral mine counter measures, port security missions and hull and pier inspection, and shipments will be complete by the end of the year.
The capabilities of the Defender have been cited from a military perspective in recent publications. The VideoRay ROV is prominently mentioned in an article published online titled "Code Name - The Blowfish Project: DTRA Securing the Waterways." The article, which appears on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website, delves into the activities of the research and development arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which "has invested in a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) system capable of identifying and neutralizing underwater improvised explosive devices (UWIEDs)."
In particular, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Bailey, program integrator for the Counter Improvised Threat Technologies Department, is quoted as saying: "Progress has enabled components of the Blowfish system to be integrated into a new ROV – the VideoRay Defender – which is destined to be part of a family of U.S. Navy EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) response vehicles."
And a U.S. Navy publication – "THE PRIMER: Support to the Fleet – Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures" – describes use of the Defender in its "First Real-World Response" for EOD purposes: "The (VideoRay Defender) systems were formally introduced to fleet operators in March of 2020 when the equipment manufacturers provided training to units from EOD Group 1 and 2 in San Diego and Virginia Beach. During the training at the Virginia Beach location, EOD Senior Chief Jeffrey Spengler stationed at the EOD shore detachment at Norfolk Naval Base said the new systems were "more user friendly and capable" than their predecessor. He likened the VideoRay Defender to a "brute" with the required thrust to work in more challenging currents. EM1 Robert Smith who works in EOD Expeditionary Support Unit Two's Robot Shop was pleased that the newer systems could be operated outside of the water for longer periods of time than Seabotix which will help with maintenance and operational checks prior to employment."
VideoRay delivered its first ROV in 2000 and has since become the world's leading manufacturer of underwater, portable, inspection-class ROVs. VideoRay underwater robots help prevent terrorism, find and retrieve objects, inspect infrastructure both inland and offshore, and keep divers safe from hazardous conditions. Operators prefer VideoRay systems because they are optimized for intuitive operation, performance, size, weight, payload and deployment speed. To learn more about VideoRay, visit videoray.com or call at +1 610-458-3000.
It's not every day that VideoRay makes the cover of a magazine, let alone one that has a worldwide distribution. But that's where we landed in the latest edition of International Ocean Systems magazine!
Not only that, but the September/October issue includes a four-page article entitled "VideoRay: an American ROV story." The article was written by Marc Deglinnocenti, U.S. correspondent for the magazine, as well as a maritime expert and longtime seaman in various capacities, from captain to commissary officer.You can read Deglinnocenti's insightful piece here.
To say the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has found VideoRay remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) indispensable would be an understatement. The department has relied on its Defender and Pro 4 to assist with dozens of assignments, from criminal investigations to drowning recoveries.
"We use them both in and out of state if requested.Many police departments, sheriff's departments, state parks, our state bureau of investigation, FBI, and national parks have all requested our assistance," noted Capt. Matt Majors, who is part of TWRA's boating investigations team. The squad is responsible for the care and maintenance of the ROVs and will respond on an as-needed basis day or night, he said.
TWRA's history with VideoRay stretches back to 2012, when it purchased the Pro 4, which is still fully operational. It acquired the Defender in 2018 "frankly because Tennessee is a very long state," Majors explained. "We wanted to strategically place it to minimize our response times to those people and departments in need."
The Pro 4 was obtained through a port security grant to assist with statewide underwater security needs as well as search requests.
"We have used the Pro 4 for evidence searches, port security sweeps of bridges and river frontage, body recoveries, and searches for helicopters/parts, cars, guns, safes, boats, barges, motorcycles, and trucks," Majors said.
He estimates that the unit has been used for approximately 80 body recoveries. Several of those have involved victims in water-filled quarries that range up to 300 feet deep. Under these circumstances, "the danger to divers is quite high," Majors said. By using the Pro 4, that danger is minimized, he added.
The addition of the Defender has given TWRA more power and flexibility in the water, not to mention expanding the agency's footprint to respond to incidents across the state and beyond.
Majors said both VideoRay ROVs give the agency a distinct advantage when used in crime scene investigations.
"It gives us the ability to search and find any evidence effectively, thus returning our officers back in service for calls quicker," he said. "There is also a large component of professionalism to be able to view and record underwater crime scenes without any human interaction. It is a great way to preserve and document evidence."
From a body search-and-recovery perspective, the submersibles offer several benefits.
"The amount of time that our agency used to spend on a body recovery could have gone days if not more than a week prior to getting the VideoRay ROVs," said Capt. George Birdwell, who is also part of the boating investigations team.
By shortening the recovery times, families that have loved ones missing can get closure much quicker, Majors added.
Both men agree that portability is another major advantage offered by the ROVs.
"We can run it from a boat, land, and docks with great ease," Majors said. "And we have had it lowered into canyons within our state parks to find drowning victims."
In addition to Birdwell and Majors, Capt. Joe Campbell is trained to operate the Pro 4 as well as the Defender. Other certified Defender operators are Sgt. Dustin Buttram, Officer Jeff Roberson, and Officer Josh Landrum.
Majors offered some advice for those debating whether to purchase a submersible.
"If any department would like to purchase a ROV, I would highly suggest VideoRay. They need to identify folks to maintain it who will treat it with care and always ensure it is ready to go. Training is key and continued use is a must. Most of our true knowledge from the ROV has been field experience. Train with it. It will save manpower and time afield when searching for any item underwater."
Enjoy the gallery of TWRA photos below.
As one of our partners, Greensea Systems provides Workspace software for our remotely operated vehicles. This Insights article delves into six tips that make it easier to navigate within Workspace.
The Pottstown Mercury, our local newspaper, provided great coverage of our latest U.S. Navy order. Check it out here.
The pace of drowning victim recoveries has not let up for HEART, the Canadian underwater search and recovery squad. The team assisted with two drowning victim cases in August, with the VideoRay Pro 5 at the forefront of their efforts. That's in addition to two recovery responses in June.
One of the recoveries in early August finally brought closure to the family of a 6-year-old Canadian boy who went missing at a lake on June 23. For the other recovery last month, it only took a matter of days to locate the 23-year-old victim.
Hutterian Emergency Aquatic Response Team, or HEART, from southern Manitoba in Canada had been asked on June 29 to help find the boy who had drowned at Makwa Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. When the squad arrived on site, they discovered that the Grandmother's Bay recovery team, a search-and-rescue unit which owns a VideoRay Pro 4, was also there to assist. Despite being at the lake for five days, HEART and other searchers came up empty-handed.
Manuel Maendel, one of HEART's leaders, said they returned to the lake on July 31 to deploy a side scan sonar that they didn't have available the first time because it needed to be repaired. Although they searched a wider area, the team's efforts were fruitless.
"We went home having done everything we could," Maendel said. "But I reviewed the sonar images and I came across an anomaly in the images that really caught my eye and I couldn't get my mind off it. It was in the area where we had checked several times."
Once again, the team made the one-way, 12-hour road trek to the lake, this time on August 5. On a hunch, Maendel said, they asked the missing boy's brother if the boys were on the lake using makeshift rafts when the 6-year-old disappeared in the water. When their hunch was confirmed, they shifted their attention to an area where they thought one of the rafts drifted. Using side scan sonar, they came across an image.
"We anchored and put the ROV down and I picked up the anomaly pretty much right away that was about 60 feet deep," Maendel said, noting that they were finally able to bring closure to the boy's family with the recovery.
As a result of HEART's involvement in this situation, search-and-recovery teams in the Saskatchewan area are pressing local and federal officials for funding to purchase equipment, such as ROVs, instead of relying on squads like HEART, which are located hundreds of miles away and aren't always immediately available.
"The teams are already there but they lack the equipment," Maendel explained. "So, we will put them in contact with the appropriate people to obtain similar equipment. We want other agencies to do what we do."
Ironically, Maendel and his 19-year-old son, Brendan, ended up returning to Northern Saskatchewan August 20 for another drowning victim search, this time at Bittern Lake. The 23-year-old victim had jumped into the lake on August 15 to rescue another person who fell off a boat that he also was on, according to news reports.
Maendel said that after several hours of searching they were successful in locating and recovering the body in about 10 feet of water using the combination of side sonar and the Pro 5.
To show their appreciation, representatives from Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) and the PAGC search team presented Maendel and his son with traditional jackets made by a 95-year-old elder.
Maendel noted that the Pro 5 has been used nearly a dozen times in recovery incidents since they acquired it last year.