VideoRay announced the details and imminent delivery of the latest model in its top-of-the line Professional series of micro ROVs. The Pro 4 has entirely new internal electronics, including camera, processor, and drive train. The vehicle retains and enhances VideoRay's position as the fastest and most powerful tether pulling vehicle, with deeper depth rating, hydrodynamic improvements, and significant improvements to camera and ballast adjustment. Topside control is based on industry standard laptop computers, with new software that integrates several functions while dynamically reconfiguring for ease of use.
The Pro 4 submersible builds on VideoRay's industry dominance with more than twice the vertical thrust of the Pro 3, and 50% greater horizontal thrust. A depth rating of 305 meters (1000 feet) is standard. Improvements in the electronics allow for both greater total tether length (up to 600 meters,) and much better power transmission over longer tethers. Existing VideoRay tethers can be used with the Pro 4 - and different tether lengths can still be combined to meet different operational requirements. New sensors, including a 3D compass and MEMS gyro improve navigational capabilities. The primary video camera features ultra low light and Wide Dynamic Range imaging capability, with a wide range of user controllable parameters for demanding imaging situations. Coupled with the very high intensity LED lighting, the video and stills that can be captured are far clearer, particularly in difficult lighting conditions. A second camera can be rotated 270 degrees to provide lateral views as needed.
The topside control configuration replaces inflexible and limited switches and knobs with context-sensitive controls that go beyond simply controlling the submersible to controlling navigation, sonar, video and stills capture, and other sensors and accessories in addition to the submersible. This "systems approach" significantly reduces operator workload and distraction caused by separate systems for sonar, navigation, video capture, and vehicle control.
Despite the improvement in capability, the VideoRay Pro 4 is actually more portable than its predecessor. The submersible is the same size and weight, but the topside control, with two screens (a laptop for control information coupled with a high-brightness screen, each of which can display video, sonar, navigation, sensor information, etc.) is actually smaller and lighter than the previous single-duty control box.
The Pro 4 is part of an industry-wide initiative led by VideoRay (the largest volume ROV manufacturer in the world) to go beyond separate "point" technology solutions to a "systems" approach to solving underwater tasks. The Pro 4 series ROVs will be sold in configurations designed to solve a specific or series of underwater tasks, with VideoRay providing single solutions across the many technologies involved. For example, video and still capture, multi-beam imaging sonars, ROV systems involving tether deployment, display, control, and vehicles, and other appropriate technologies will be delivered with single-source documentation, training, maintenance, and repair. Users will be able to concentrate on their underwater missions without concern about how one component is cabled to another, or which is documented where.