love for electronics and underwater vehicles began
early in my high school career. I started out
building AUV’s as a hobby and ended up building
an AUV that in 1969 won several awards at the
International Science and Engineering Fair. From
that point on I was hooked.
after winning the awards for my AUV, I started
to get more involved with ROV’s. I experimented
with many different types of ROV’s and worked
quite a bit with “towable” vehicles
that could be maneuvered as you pulled them. I
displayed the RECORP MK-2 ISEF Towable ROV at
my high school science fair in 1972. I was really
enjoying working with underwater vehicles and
knew I wanted to have a career in the maritime
there I ended up moving to Harvey, Louisiana and
got a job with Michel Lecler Diving building ROV’s
for work in the offshore oil industry. At the
time the surrounding area of New Orleans was essentially
the commercial diving and marine capital, with
lots of service work coming out of there. Living
and working in Harvey was quite an experience
and I really gained a lot of knowledge that was
useful later in my career.
was always trying to expand my skills and progress
further in the industry. It got to the point where
I found myself not having time for school. I ended
up going over to Europe in 1977 to work with Smit
International, and at the age of 21 I was building
a $3.5 Million ROV. I thought the trade off was
ROV we built in Europe for Smit, the Smit Sub
1000, was a Work Class ROV that was the first
ever underwater ROV to have fiber optics, which
was supplied by AT&T. The ROV also had a color
camera with various other sensors and was a pretty
revolutionary vehicle. After that I decided to
go back to the US and get a job building ROV’s
for Benthos. It was real similar work, except
the vehicles we were building were much smaller.
this time I decided I wanted to start my own business
that involved working with electronics, while
staying involved in the ROV industry. In 1982
I started Deep Sea Systems International out of
my basement where I built electric manipulators
for smaller ROV’s. My first two customers
were Tom Angle and Drew Michel, who is now the
MTS ROV committee chair.
DSSI grew I again started looking more at building
ROV’s. We had a lot of trips to the North
Sea, as well as taking on many shipwreck exploration
projects. We always found ourselves in need of
a smaller, portable, rugged ROV to use on our
voyages. This is how we came up with the idea
for the Mini Rover MK-1.
1984 we introduced the Mini Rover commercially
and started to promote it in various places. We
decided to target the trade shows and at the very
first one we walked away with 50 orders. Now at
this point we were the first portable, low cost
ROV to hit the market commercially, so there was
a lot of buzz and a lot of attention for DSSI.
all the orders coming in we needed a solution
for low cost manufacturing. I still had a good
relationship with my old boss at Benthos, so I
decided to go back to him and let him know what
my situation was. Now Benthos had very good quality
manufacturing and could do exactly what DSSI wanted.
I told them how many vehicles I needed built and
at what price, and they told me it would be no
problem. So we contracted with Benthos and they
started manufacturing the Mini Rovers for us.
here we put out another version of the Mini Rover,
the MK-2. Then in 1986 we created the line of
Sea Rover products. Soon after that it was the
Mini Rover MK-4. Eventually we sold the complete
Mini Rover and Sea Rover product line to Benthos
for them to market and manufacture on their own.
from 1989 to 1995 DSSI stepped away from manufacturing
ROV’s and more or less did leasing and other
underwater operations. We then went back to the
drawing board and in 1995 we released commercially
the Max Rover MK-1. The Max Rover was a new generation
of smaller, low cost work class ROV’s.
there are 15 Max Rovers out on the Market being
used by various Navies’, oil companies and
inspections companies, all over the world. They
range from 1000 meter to 3000 meter depth rated
vehicles. All vehicles were purchased through
DSSI, and currently DSSI owns and operates our
own Max Rover called the Global Explorer.
Global Explorer is a very unique vehicle that
is now essentially a science ROV. The Global Explorer
is currently up in the Artic working off the back
of an ice breaker with about 35 scientists. It
is equipped with a full broadcast High Definition
camera and lots of sampling hardware that is integrated
right in to the vehicle. The ROV has traps in
the front for catching creatures, getting benthic
samples and much more. It is also equipped with
a suction system for collecting. The Global Explorer
is truly a marine science vehicle and is capable
of operating in depths up to 3000 meters.
entire system is also very portable and can be
flown around by common air carrier. The Global
Explorer has drawn lots of interest and once it
is finished in the Artic it will head out and
begin a new project in Indonesia.
is what DSSI has been doing for the last couple
of years, leasing the Global Explorer and working
on all sorts of underwater projects. We have also
continued to build thrusters, linear actuators,
rotary actuators and other motors.
still supported the Max Rover series of ROV’s,
but were out of manufacturing. We figured there
were too many ROV’s that were too similar
and once something changed is was too hard to
stay up and compete with all the other companies.
But it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for
us because we started making more money leasing
than we did when we manufactured ROV’s.
once again, we are getting back into manufacturing
ROV’s with the Sea Max. We delivered our
first vehicle in the spring to the military and
it has been an extremely reliable vehicle. We
have received some great feedback on the vehicle
and hope to have them commercially available within
Sea Max was developed in association with the
University of South Florida. It is a smaller work
class ROV that is designed to work in absolute
zero visibility environments. It has completed
ship hull inspections and various other tasks
in zero visibility. The current Sea Max is equipped
with around $600,000 dollars worth of sensors.
It is a true, rugged, deep water, zero visibility
bloodhound. The vehicle can also upload and download
data from a satellite, as well as be flown. We
will have more information on the Sea Max available
on our website in the months to come. www.deepseasystems.com
with the new Sea Max ROV and our future line of
smaller low cost High Definition ROV’s,
Deep Sea Systems looks to penetrate the market
Deep Sea Systems International, Inc.
P.O. Box 622
Falmouth, MA USA 02541-0622
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