Autonomous Lander Vehicles

Autonomous Lander Vehicles (ALV) are designed to record time-lapse photographic images of marine life on the ocean floor down to depths of 6000 meters.Much is still unknown about organisms living at these extreme depths. ALV technology is proving valuable in gaining an understanding of the distributions, abundances, and lifestyles of deep-sea benthic organisms. The basic ALV is a metal frame that supports a host of scientific instruments to measure physical properties such as conductivity, temperature, depth, and current speed. It is deployed from the A-frame or crane of a ship to descend free-fall to the seafloor.  With high-resolution photographic equipment, ALVs can autonomously record time-lapse images over a period from days to months. A newly developed ALV, the Deep Ocean Benthic Observer (DOBO) releases food bait every five days to attract and monitor benthic animals, particularly scavengers, which are important and poorly understood members of deep seafloor communities. Some ALVs use acoustic technology to record deep-sea sound instead of taking photographs. All Landers are positively buoyant, so that when they have completed their tasks, weights can be released by an acoustic command from a Research Vessel. The Autonomous Lander Vehicle then ascends to the ocean surface for recovery.

The Deep Ocean Benthic Observer (DOBO) investigates fish distribution and migration patterns in response to changing physical oceanographic conditions using a novel long-term periodic bait release system and time-lapse camera.

The Robust Biodiversity Lander (ROBIO), an Autonomous Lander Vehicle used to conduct photographic surveys of biodiversity down to 6000m.