Nova Ray® Reviews And Testimonials

/Nova Ray® Reviews And Testimonials
Nova Ray® Reviews And Testimonials 2017-08-11T02:22:33+00:00

Nova Ray® Reviews And Testimonials

The Nova Ray ROV has a 15 Year Track Record

The evolution of the Nova Ray actually began in the 1990’s with the realization that nothing on the market was delivery the needed performance or ROI needed for the industry. Each evolution of competing products sought to overcome fundamental limitations, yet imposed new limitations in the process.

AUVs seek to cut the cord, while imposing new limitations and doing nothing about the fundamental problems of their form factor. While other ROVs are still a brick being dragged and cork-screwing through the water. It takes a fundamental shift in design to overcome the limitations of ROVs & AUVs.

This was the reason for the radical design of the Nova Ray. The Nova Ray inventors, Marc & Krist Geriene, being lifelong commercial divers understood the medium they worked within better than a robotic designer in Silicon Valley. Hydrodynamics optimization is part rocket science, but it is also practical experience with thousands of hours doing real work at depth. Nova Ray was designed over a string of prototypes and years evolving, plus millions of dollars in real R&D into the fully optimized design you see today. It isn’t about slapping a wing on a brick like some are doing today, it is about perfected hydrodynamic flow offering unequaled performance. But today’s Nova Ray is just the beginning, with more configurations and radical designs coming in the future too.

We invite you to compare Nova Ray against any competitor for performance, stability, control under high speed tow and in free flight under extreme currents, sensor flexibility and data quality, operator ease, mobility and deployment simplicity, and maintenance and field repairability. Nothing delivers better ROI.


In the mean time …

Would you like to talk with a Nova Ray Configuration Specialist now to review and confirm you specific needs, and explore any additional options with you?

Click Here To Get A
Nova Ray Quote!

We are sure that you will find that the Nova Ray® Patented Arcuate Winged ROV Platform will meet and exceed any competing ROV for stability, precision, performance, and return on your investment! Let us show you why – we will even prove it to you at sea! Just call for a demonstration!

What People Said About Nova Ray

From the Frost & Sullivan Whitepaper: Technology and Service Integration Impacts the Offshore Service Industry

Offshore operators already undertake several strategic, financial and operational risks in their exploration ventures. Compliance risks in the form of environmental and safety regulations have assumed a dedicated focus in recent years. The BP incident has led to sweeping changes to the regulatory landscape for the offshore industry. First was the carving out of a new agency from the old regulator. The new entity, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), focuses on safety and environmental oversight of offshore oil and gas operations. The new regulatory regime affects every aspect of offshore exploration and production (E&P), but the onus is on maintaining the integrity of offshore assets. Among the expected changes are structural inspection intervals of assets, extensive environmental assessments, and an overhaul of safety procedures. The offshore industry in the U.S. has a checkered past, as evidenced by the high number of incidents in the major offshore basins.3 The new regulatory regime is targeting a substantial reduction in casualties and spills through tougher new laws.

Underwater inspection and repair is a huge challenge for the offshore industry due to the inherent cost and risk involved. The industry can look to three major components of the inspection and repair picture: remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to help in monitoring and identification of issues, new and improved repair products, and compliance with environmental and safety protocols.

First, operators want the inspections to be rapid and reliable. ROVs have played a crucial role in the inspection of underwater structures using several innovative sensors and detectors. In the past couple of decades, ROVs have become a standard feature of offshore services operations. Today, ROVs are part of geophysical surveys, positioning, construction and drilling support. However, the prime application is in inspection and repair support services as an important tool in reducing manpower involvement, thereby increasing safety and reducing costs. Under the new regulatory regime, ROVs have found new application in the Gulf of Mexico. Other new applications include inspection of Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) units and other sub-sea control units, and the ongoing Idle-Iron Initiative4, which is aimed at removal of defunct offshore structure and closure of abandoned wells.

However, ROVs could also be one of the most vulnerable points of failure in an offshore inspection mission, due to breakdowns or wayward trajectory control. This leads to significant cost increases of specialized manpower, which is working in tandem with the ROV.

On detection of mechanical damage to structures on account of corrosion, operators typically want a quicker turnaround of repairs. In recent years, operators have shown a higher acceptance of composite repair products against the more traditional metallic repair. Mechanical damages to offshore pipelines are common. Loss of wall thickness of pipelines and other structures due to corrosion is much more frequent than mechanical damages such as dents or gouges.

The traditional repair process involves either an invasive process, such as cutting and replacement of the damaged section, or welding of mechanical sleeves on the damaged section to restore structural integrity. The use of thermosetting plastics along with polymer fiber technology in the form of so-called “band wraps” is an established practice in onshore oil & gas pipelines. With innovations in resin and fiber technology, the composite materials (non-metallic) approach has found acceptance in the offshore services industry.

Lastly, environmental and safety compliance is one of the greatest concerns of offshore operators. Compliance has become a central theme to all offshore activities; the industry currently lacks services companies with extensive background in environmental legislations. The operators would prefer having a single vendor for all these services, but the offshore services market in North America is highly fragmented. There are several niche services companies that participate in various segments of the value chain.

The industry needs consolidation of these interconnected but diverse services capabilities within the offerings of single integrated vendors. One of the immediate areas for improvement is consolidation of inspection, maintenance and compliance-related outsourcing practices. The current fragmented outsourcing approach typically comprises of an operator to liaise with ROV companies for asset inspections, engineering and diving companies for rehabilitation, environmental consulting companies for compliance, and material companies for repair consumables. The prevailing need is for the industry to have a more mature outsourcing and procurement model with fewer vendors who can provide a turn-key solution.


While there are several competing ROV devices in the North American market, there is no typical or common design type. ROVs are, however, classified in Class Type based on design features. Regardless of the Class Type, there are several features that the Industry desires in field situations.

A Versatile ROV Makes the Difference

The ability to maintain position during a repair job, maneuverability while performing an inspection, high speed towability and ease of deployment are some of the most desirable features in a ROV. Marine Exploration Services, developer of the innovative Nova Ray ROV, has incorporated these features in the design of its ROV. The Nova Ray ROV was designed to fly under its own power or be towed without any modification. This allows the pilot to deploy the vehicle without anchoring the surface craft, providing the contractor the ability to leave the ROV deployed (in the water) and tow the vehicle between inspection points, as is the case when inspecting tie-down straps. The conventional ROVs use thrusters to try to overpower currents and cross currents. This does not provide stability for the ROV and, in most cases, is not successful. The Nova Ray was designed to operate in strong currents. The patented arcuate wing5 improves performance and provides the pilot the ability to accomplish the inspection task within specified time frames. Each of these factors contributes individually and collectively in a very positive way to Nova Ray’s ability to accomplish the inspection tasks significantly faster than conventional ROV. Figure 5 illustrates the winged design feature of the Nova Ray ROV.

ROVs will continue to play an important role in offshore exploration and production. A versatile ROV such as the Nova Ray, which replaces human involvement, will go a long way in making the industry safer.

Extracted – Chirag Rathi, Frost & Sullivan

Nova Ray ROVs

Nova Ray, offers a line of ROV’s for survey, inspection and security applications. All models incorporate the patented arcuate (bow) shaped wing design. The arcuate shaped wings of the Nova Ray are designed to counteract the lifting force of the umbilical, to reduce the effects of boat speed and current on the operational stability. The wings are also designed to increase cable use efficiency and reduce the amount of cable necessary to operate or tow at depth.

Extracted – Marine Technology Reporter

BlueView and NovaRay Demonstrate Hull Inspection Imaging Technology

BlueView Technologies and NovaRay [Coral Partners] teamed up … to demonstrate the effectiveness of combining a NovaRay ROV and a BlueView sonar for ship hull inspections. Integrated onboard NovaRay’s versatile Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), BlueView Technologies successfully demonstrated its multi-beam hull inspection imaging technology.

To demonstrate BlueView Technologies’ high frequency multibeam hull inspection technology, BlueView turned to NovaRay. It is essential to have a high degree of accuracy to navigate the vehicle and position the sensor to make very high resolution images. The NovaRay’s ability to fly straight and level and ease of sensor integration on the vehicle fit the bill. The combined system was used to scan the sides and bottom of the vessel as well as the harbor bottom below the vessel. The was to detect and locate any anomalies on or near the ship’s hull.

Extracted – Dr. Lee Thompson, BlueView Technologies

Nova Ray is Unique 

These ROVs are unique in that their hull is an articulate wing, which has been modified for efficiency (Nova Ray). The purpose of this is to help “counteract the lifting force of the umbilical (also described at the tether or cable). Therefore, the speed of the boat (or other vessel) or current has little effect on the operational stability of the Nova Ray®. The wings increase cable use efficiency and reduce the amount of cable necessary to operate or tow at depth” (Nova Ray).

Extracted – ROV Team, Florida Institute of Technology, Department of Marine and Environmental Systems

W&W Marine Completes Offshore Pipeline Inspection Using Nova Ray

W&W Marine completed a contract from Gulfstream Gas & Oil to conduct a video and sonar survey of a 74 mile stretch of pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. The natural gas line which runs from Coden, Alabama to Florida’s, Port Manatee in Tampa Bay, went on line in 2001, supplying the Pinellas county power plant. 

The survey began in 48’ of water and worked Westward out to the 200’ mark. “There were a number of tasks accomplished” said Ed Watkins of W&W Marine. “From the free flight video footage of subsea tie-ins and hold down straps, to the towed flight footage of the entire 92 mile stretch, having the use of a Nova Ray® ROV, really made this job a lot easier.” 

“The use of high tech sonar equipment such as BlueView’s Proviewer 450E High definition imaging sonar and Imagenex’ 881SS Side Scan Sonar helped to document the pipelines location when the ocean’s visibility dropped to zero”, said William Wimpy of W&W Marine. “This sonar equipment, coupled with Hypak survey software and Easy Trak’s tracking equipment, has helped to gather a very accurate survey of this pipeline.” 

W&W Marine had three main objectives to meet during the survey. The first was to obtain video footage of both the near shore and far shore subsea tie-ins. The water depth ranges from 65’ to a little over 200’ running from the near shore subsea tie in to the far shore tie in, with three valves at each tie-in requiring yearly inspection. During hurricane activity, the oceans currents can cause the valves’ cage covers to come loose, leaving the valves vulnerable to anchor dragging and debris build up. In addition, the valves were closely inspected to detect possible natural gas leaks as a result of the last hurricane. 

The second objective was to inspect 32 straps located in water depths of 135’ to 158’ used to anchor the natural gas line down to the ocean floor. Each year the straps need to be visually inspected for corrosion and to monitor their zinc anodes. “With the Nova Ray conducting it’s free flight video inspection of each strap, we could just leave it in the water and tow it down the line to its next objective” said Capt. William Wimpy. “We’d just stop and film the next strap for a few minutes and continue on all day like that.” 

The final objective was to obtain video footage of the entire 92 mile length of pipeline. “Starting in 48’ of water and pointing the research vessel Westward, we motored along between 1 and 3 knots gathering as much video footage as possible and when the visibility became to poor to make out the ocean floor, we turned on our sonar equipment to record what our cameras couldn’t see” said William. “It was great not having to stop just because of a thermo cline in the lower water column. This “loss of visibility” in the water occurs naturally each year when the ocean gets stirred up and can stretch from a few hundred yards to a number of miles wide.” 

“Now that we have a very thorough and complete survey of this offshore pipeline, we’ll have a historical reference of the line for years to come; this survey will help with the monitoring of the line following any major ocean changes or hurricane storm surges. Marine Biologists could even use it to reference the abundant marine life, both mammalian and non-mammalian.” 

Extracted – SeaDiscovery

W&W Marine Use Nova Rays Post Katrina

New ROV takes flight

New remotely operated vehicle (ROV), dubbed the Nova Ray, for underwater pipeline, tie back, route planning inspection or other duties.

Mimicking the look of a small, yellow manta ray, the ROV allows simultaneous dual-side-scan and forward-scan sonar while under tow, the only ROV with such capabilities. The digital, multifrequency sonar [as reeviewed] ensures up to 800 ft (244 m) of total coverage using 12-volt power and GPS interface features, with 10 to 15 megabytes of data storage per hour. [Though the flixibility of the device allows for a huge range of sensors.] The machine’s patented arcuate wing design reduces cable drag and allows the ROV to be towed by boat at speeds up to 9 knots, which is three times faster than anything else out there. Variable thrusters under each wing allow movement forward, backward, up, down and side to side with a 360-degree point of action on a Z-axis. The unit can be “flown” while under tow or can hover in a specific position for close-up video or sonar.

That capability allows us to do a one-pass inspection. With the box-like ROVs, you have to drop, take data, bring it back up and then repeat the process when
something is missed. That costs time and money. The uses two cameras simultaneously, forward and aft, to ensure accurate positioning and video and data capture, allowing complete inspections up to seven times faster. Also, the system operates 70% deeper than conventional underwater towed vehicles systems using the same cable length, due to its efficient ratio of 2.38 ft (0.7 m) of cable for every foot of depth.

Clients get quality data within hours, not weeks, so they can quickly make actionable decisions, usually with a 50% cost savings. The [very proprietary] polyurethane resin composite unit is lightweight, averaging about 70 pounds including its airline carrier case, so no crane or special transport is required. It is 1,022 milimeters long and 997 milimeters wide. The ROV can be deployed on site within 24 hours and then assembled and launched in another 30
minutes — a lead time guaranteed by [the manufacturer’s] “Right Now Guarantee.” These units are deployed from workboats as small as 20 to 35 feet (6 to 10.6 m), so there is no need for the ‘moonpool’ on a platform. The deployability is one of its best attributes. 

The ROV itself is a system of modularization. If a customer has a specific task to be undertaken, such as an environmental or naval ordinance disposal survey, special purpose laser positioning or other fixtures, [they] can be attached. The unit’s robust and neutrally buoyant construction allows it to operate in water up to 1,000 ft (305 m) deep [the Nova Ray 305 Model] (which includes 60% of the pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico). Going forward, the company is working to
develop enhanced models that will operate at 7,000 ft (2,135 m) and ultimately 15,000 ft (4,575 m).

The ROV is managed by a [one man] crew, and is controlled by GIS software and data supplied by customers and the US Materials Management Service. It uses those, in conjunction with it own proprietary as-built software, to map and chart the course to deploy appropriately. Replacement parts are carried with the unit, so up to 90% of any necessary repairs are completed on the fly.

Extracted – E&P Magazine

Nova Ray’s has the opportunity to really focus on defense against terrorism in waterway commerce internationally.

Nova Ray’® portability and ease of operation also meet the needs for rapid response water rescues and inspections of pipelines, cables, dams and reservoirs. They have truly solved some very limiting factors for ROVs.

We were immediately impressed with the innovative arcuate wing design of the Nova Ray that adds stability and maneuverability. The ROV’s existing patents substantially increase its value in the marketplace.

The Nova Ray’s universal design, superior technology and flexibility will make it the ROV of choice for ship hull inspections and military response initiatives. With 95% of annual US trade passing through 360 ports worldwide, port and coastline security are extremely challenging issues.

This is an innovative solution that can be applied to thwarting terrorist assaults against the more than 87,000 ships annually moving materials worldwide. This includes 335 tankers carrying bulk oil, gas, chemicals and liquid natural gas worldwide each year that the Nova Ray easily could inspect for terrorist assaults.

Lightweight and highly portable, they can operate in strong currents, have shown us quick response times, and can be towed and/or use thruster power to descend to depths up to 1000 feet (for the model we saw). Future models will expand on these features.

Nova Ray and its intellectual property stem from seven years of research and development. Mr. Geriene and his brother, Krist, called upon their expertise as commercial divers, ROV pilots and business owners in developing the Nova Ray’s innovative design and market applications.

Extracted – Dee Elliott, Trinity River’s COO, Former Naval Officer

The Role of ROVs in Maritime Safety and Security

One of the challenges ROVs have is crabbing in strong currents. Nova Ray has developed a “winged technology” allow for more dynamic performance in strong currents and when the ROV is under tow. This wing technology is designed for true axis flight in strong currents. The wings are made of lightweight polyurethane construction for durability and can be easily and quickly assembled on a ROV.

Extracted – Marianne Molchan

Mission critical underwater surveys and inspections 

Mission critical underwater surveys and inspections need the power and control of winged Nova Ray: Wide-area surveys and critical infrastructure inspections demand a powerful ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that’s stable and reliable in strong currents and tides. The portable Nova Ray is a natural selection for underwater inspection and detection projects. With its patented bow-shaped wing design, the Nova Ray works with the current – not against it. It counters destabilizing effects of cable drag and goes deeper with less cable than other underwater towable vehicles. In fact, the Nova Ray has been described as having patented the most efficient design in nature. 

It is the “Mission Ready” Portable ROV – Sonar ready and adaptable for user-specified equipment. Lightweight (60 lbs.) and easily deployed. Proprietary command and control software, and fully digital on-board electronics. Depth rated to 300 meters [Nova Ray 305 platform model]; transports by commercial airline, upgradeable for new technology.

Extracted – BTSA

Nova Ray Inc. Expands Into Southeast Asia

The market for our ROVs in Southeast Asia is significant and will grow nicely as customers understand the advantages of the Nova Ray ROV. Partnering will strongly launch the products in the area. According to the company, the Nova Ray patented arcuate wing design solves long-time industry struggles with cable drag in strong currents. The wing design eliminates the phenomenon know as “Dutch Roll Instability”, a problem experienced by flat wing designs [that some are testing]. The arcuate-shaped wings of the Nova Ray are designed to counteract the lifting force of the umbilical (also described as the tether or cable). Therefore, the speed of the boat (or other vessel) or current has little effect on the operational stability of the Nova Ray. The wings increase cable use efficiency and reduce the amount of cable necessary to operate or tow at depth.  Nova Ray’s arcuate wing configuration is made to be stable in turbulent currents and provides true axis flight [overcoming crabbing and tacking]. There is little tendency for the vehicle to rock [roll] in shifting currents. The wings, combined with other secondary control surfaces, tend to counter any destabilizing forces. The close proximity of the thrusters to the control surfaces allows for very tight maneuvering. 

Extracted – SeaDiscovery

The Hunt for the Alligator

To get a closer look at, or “ground-truth,” anomalies identified through either the side scan sonar or the magnetometer, the Hunt for the Alligator expedition team used a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV). An ROV is a vehicle or platform that is placed in the water and controlled from the ship. ROVs can be fitted to include sample collectors, manipulator arms, video and still cameras and lights. ROVs are generally powered by thrusters, providing directional control. For the search, the team used a Nova Ray ROV, which can either be towed or use its own propulsion system. The Nova Ray was equipped with a duel-frequency side-scan sonar, video camera and lights and a manipulator arm for grasping small objects.

We used the Nova Ray ROV as a drop down camera and review some possible targets identified over the past few days. On the way out to the site, a dive operation on one of the many ships torpedoed and sunk off the North Carolina coast was the plan.

US Navy 040827-N-7676W-089 The Nova Ray model 3500 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) maneuvers away from the Office of Naval Research vessel, YP-679, Afloat Lab

[PHOTO] Atlantic Ocean – The Nova Ray model 3500 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) maneuvers away from the Office of Naval Research vessel, YP-679, Afloat Lab. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is conducting a week-long expedition off Cape Hatteras, N.C., searching for the U.S. Navy’s first submarine “Alligator” which was lost during a fierce storm in 1863. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Journalist John F. Williams (RELEASED)

Chief Scientist, Mike Overfield, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), compares a drawing of the USS Alligator, the Navy's first submarine, to an anomaly seen on video taken from the camera of the Nova Ray model 3500. (U.S. Navy Photograph by Chief Journalist John F. Williams)

[PHOTO] Chief Scientist, Mike Overfield, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), compares a drawing of the USS Alligator, the Navy’s first submarine, to an anomaly seen on video taken from the camera of the Nova Ray model. (U.S. Navy Photograph by Chief Journalist John F. Williams)

The Hunt for the Alligator - a Project of the Office of Naval Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA

We were accompanied to our survey area by East Carolina University’s Beeliner, a 30-foot motor boat that would be used as the platform for the drop camera deployment. Images were collected that were reviewed upon our return and survey using the side scan sonar and magnetometer that was conducted adjacent to our primary survey area. Upon completion of the survey and drop camera operation, we returned and completed the dive operation.

Extracted – Michael Overfield Chief Scientist/Archaeologist, YP679 Afloat Lab

Underwater fault lines study in Lake Tahoe

We performed studies of underwater fault lines that were successfully conducted in Lake Tahoe using the Nova Ray, a submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The winged Nova Ray was used by SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography (SCRIPPS), one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for marine science research, graduate training, and public service in the world.

We expect the Nova Ray ROV will significantly enhance Scripps’ access to the seas. In this case the Nova Ray was used in a study of faulting in Lake Tahoe where high resolution imagery from the lake floor complemented high-resolution bathymetry and ‘chirp’ mapping of the Incline Village Fault. The Nova Ray will be also used to map the Rose Canyon Fault offshore La Jolla including the critical fish habitat associated with the fault and attendant kelp beds.

The ability to operate simply in high currents is proving to be an invaluable capability. We expect new cyber infrastructure at Scripps and UCSD will be used to deliver images from the Nova Ray directly to the Internet and displays at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. We expect to work with the Nova Ray manufacturer in extending the ROV’s capabilities to greater depths in coming months and years.

The Nova Ray’s bow shaped wing design, really maintains stability and maneuverability in strong currents, cross currents and tides. It’s portable and maneuverable.

Its multi-use platform is adaptable to a wide range of applications for research, surveys and underwater inspections. It is easy to launch from a stable platform or vessel, and its design can meet the challenges of underwater environments.

John Orcutt, Scripps Research and Marine Affairs

We used the Nova Ray right after we got it, and it was really easy!

Our divers were called in to search for what was believed to be a truck submerged in a deep farm pond and to determine whether it was occupied, on the Losch Farm in rural Roxana, Illinois.

The farm owner discovered tire tracks leading into the pond, and called the Roxana Fire Department who notified us (the Alton Volunteer Emergency Corps) about a possible vehicle in the water.

We first placed the Nova Ray submersible in the water and it detected a truck immediately beneath the surface about 15 feet from the pond’s shore. It only took a few minuted to prepare the Nova Ray, and was easy to pilot. It was perfect for rapid response like this.

At that point, we put divers in to conduct a further search of the submerged vehicle which was unoccupied. The Nova Ray let us see what was down there before having to risk divers. 

Extracted – Anthony Jennings, AVEC – Alton Volunteer Emergency Corps

REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLES: Powerful vehicle is stable in currents

Wide-area surveys and critical infrastructure inspections demand a powerful ROV (remotely operated vehicle) that is stable in strong currents and tides.

Designers of the winged Nova Ray, former commercial divers and ROV pilots, sought to overcome industry struggles of working in challenging underwater environments.  With its patented bow-shaped wing, the Nova Ray works with the current – not against it. It counters destabilizing effects of cable drag, operates in up to nine knot currents under tow, and has plenty of payload for cost effective project results. 

Get more, do more with the Nova Ray ROV. [For example] Just remove the Nova Ray ROV wings, add the flotation frame assembly, and you are ready to go [for other missions]

With the [Nova Ray] Conversion Kit, you get two operationally different Nova Ray ROVs for expanded project capabilities [in one]. The Nova Ray ROV 2-in-1 package works for projects with tight space limitations and vertical maneuvering, and those [wings] in challenging currents and cross currents.

The Wing is for towing and current operation, it features:  

  • Responsive maneuvering for enhanced submersible performance
  • Hydrodynamic stability
  • Easy assembly and quick deployment
  • Cost effective and operationally efficient
  • Lightweight polyurethane construction for durability
  • Simple flight instructions
  • Increased payload for vehicle

The Nova Ray goes deeper with less cable than other underwater towable vehicles. In fact, the Nova Ray has been described as having patented the most efficient wing design in nature, says the company.  The portable, cost effective Nova Ray is a natural selection for underwater inspection and detection projects, adds the company.  It is ruggedly compact for ship hull and pipeline inspections to port security and emergency response in lakes and rivers.

Extracted – OGN

A Discussion Of Risk & Requirements In Marine Operations By Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – May 17, 2017

The world we live in is full of risk. As Dick Chaney said: “I am not worried about what I know I don’t know, but what I don’t know that I don’t know” So most of the time, we minimize risk with knowledge, with data.

So, the question is what is the best way to gather data to minimize risk in a marine environment so hostile to humans?

Let’s talk about risk centers in the marine world. We have onshore, nearshore, and offshore. We have surface, water column, and seabed. We have stationary, and moving targets. We have calm, and wildly turbulent environments.

Yet ironically, we have similar issues in the air.

The marine industry’s approach to data gathering has been as many as there are sand pebbles on the beach, though more recently has started to concentrate on robotic platforms to gather data, since human data gathering is so restricted and restrictive underwater.

Let’s look at some typical risk areas and where data gathering is critical (this is by no means comprehensive).

  • Ports and Shipping – inspections of: vessel hull; port infrastructure; port seafloor debris accumulation; channel hazards; marinas; navigable waterways, locks and canals, recovery support, etc.
  • Security – chemical, biological, radiological detection at dock; incoming vessel wake detection; suspect monitoring; seafloor incursion policing; etc.
  • Pipeline & Submarine Cables – inspections for: post storm; environmental & leak detection; pipe coatings and metal integrity; 3D mapping; ultraprecise location; flow metering; etc.
  • Seafloor, Lake & River Bottom Mapping – rapid remapping post storms in shallow waters; more frequent or post flood remapping of rivers; lake and reservoir bottom mapping, etc.
  • Environmental – precise monitoring of environmental water conditions; coral reefs; habitats; aquaculture at sea; fisheries; pipe outflows; etc.
  • Industry & Infrastructure – inspections of: bridges, dams, power plants; industrial plants; logging industry; etc.
  • Science – geological inspections; biological support; oceanographic support; etc.

All of these present specific challenges to technological solutions. Industry has developed a number of different purpose designed solutions to allow for each of these to some degree or other, though most are so specific to their mission as to be unusable for others.

range of applications, the platform must have certain characteristics: maximum stability in the most conditions; the most ability to deploy a vast range of instruments / sensors allowing at-sea configuration for each mission or task; extreme maneuverability to adapt to the local conditions; suitability in high sea or water currents; provide real-time data for immediate decision-making; receive and preserve data in evidence quality or original form suitably archived (provide a chain of custody); adapt to the latest control technologies and data analysis tools.

Currently, the deployed technologies fall into three main groups: AUV- Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (essentially Underwater Drones); ROTVs; and ROVs. AUVs must be programmed for their mission and deployed with limited useful time, where the operator knows very little until the AUV returns – they are typically very limited in their sensors and have high operational risk of loss or collision. ROTVs are very limited towed devices with limited control, limited sensors, and a host of issues. ROVs come in three basic forms: Box (Cage-style); Torpedo (like AUVs); and the Nova Ray underwater flier; The Box or Cage style ROVs are not operable well under tow – a bit like a dragged brick, and while offering sensor flexibility have limited maneuverability in limited current, plus tether (umbilical drag is a massive problem for them). Torpedo designs have their limitations as well (acting like underwater blimps), including stability in all axis, limited sensors, very poor maneuverability.

This is where the Nova Ray excels. By providing the unique arcuate wing design stabilizing the craft in all axis, coupled with far superior maneuverability both in free-flight and under tow, it provides anywhere from a 5x to 10x multiplier in the real-time data gathering needed to mitigate risks more rapidly and with far higher ROI. Nova Ray can be quickly adapted to almost any current or future suitable sensor, while operating under pilot control gathering data in perfect stability. The drift. Pitch, roll, and oscillation issues that confront other devices are eliminated by Nova Ray’s design.

The result is that Nova Rays can perform a vastly greater number of applications, collect more true legal quality data; perform faster at sea covering more distance; is more easily deployed and recovered using much smaller more cost effective vessels; is fully maneuverable from surface to depth; is adaptable in the middle of a mission based on encountered situations; and can even be deployed in a swarm pattern to cover a far greater swath of area using multiple Nova Rays simultaneously from a single vessel.

WHITE PAPER: A Discussion Of Risk & Requirements In Marine Operations By Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – May 17, 2017

Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. (Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. & Company) Drone & Robotics Industry Expert

ROV’s and underwater inspection technologies

According to Canadian Shipping Act, Japanese Ship Safety Law, and US Coast Guard, at least once every three years, there shall be an examination of each marine terminal to determine whether the structural integrity of the terminal, the oil transfer operations system and the safety equipment are designed and being maintained in a safe working condition. This law and regulation are to ensure that the seaworthiness of vessels and to protect lives. The objective of the inspection is not only to document and assess the criticality of deficiencies, but also to enhance reliability, safety and structural integrity of the terminal and its operation. The inspection is to be carried out by a qualified technician with adequate knowledge of hull structure inspection under the surveillance of a surveyor.

The surveyor shall be satisfied with the method of live pictorial representation and the method of positioning of the technician on the structure (Kelly, 1999)
Underwater hull inspection involves the examination of the exterior underwater hull and components to determine the condition and needs for maintenance, repair and routine inspection. Underwater hull inspection can only be done by a qualified divers or an ROV. The inspection report must includes, general examination of the underwater hull plating, detailed examination of all hull welds, propellers, tail shafts, rudders, hull appurtenances, thickness gauging results, bearing clearances, a copy of the audio and video recordings, sea chests condition, and remove and inspect all sea valves. The Marine Inspector will evaluate the hull examination report and grant a credit hull exam if satisfied with the condition of the vessel. If approved the ship owner may receive a credit hull exam up to 36 months (with divers) and 60 months (with ROV) (US Coast Guard).

The need of an ROV for inspection

[The Nova Ray] not only focus for ship hull inspection. Other services that can be done by an ROV are for instance; diver monitoring, drill rig support, subsea
intervention, aquaculture facility inspection, dam inspection, salvage operations, underice survey and operations and police and rescue squad search and recovery operation. 

Generally, underwater inspections method can be classified into four types; CCTV, photographic, Non-destructive test (NDT) and diver physical inspection. An underwater inspection is not just to record the video and save the data; it is an activity where the inspector probes and searches for signs, which may lead to future problems or any other possible damage and threat. In order to save the cost and minimize the loss time while performing ship hull inspection, ROV used as alternative. According to Lynn (2000), the ROV-based hull surveys can collect all the necessary information within a short period of time on the hull systems and allowing the US Navy to refine their work packages far ahead of the dry-docking. The US Navy spends about $300M/year to dry-dock ships, of which $80M is for paint removal and replacement. However this procedure required a supervision of expertise. The ROV operator and the expertise will make decision base on what they observed and data measured. But the visual data is not 100% accurate especially on the extreme curve surface. ROV cannot maintain its static position because of the underwater condition. Inconsistency in ROV’s movement and the difficulty of ROV’s operator to guide and control the camera at the same time resulted in the visual inspection error. Due to these factors, relative tracking control to perform XY positioning maneuver must be done. This feature may guide the ROV [like Nova Ray] so that the vehicle is always perpendicular or relative to the ship hull surface.


This device is a big help to our first responder agency in underwater searches. We got it by a donation that helped make a big splash in assisting in water searches.

We are a search-and-rescue organization, which assists law enforcement and medical professionals in water rescues throughout the year. We got the submersible, called a Nova Ray, through a grant donation to the organization. We are really excited, we had the first one in the country in Search & Rescue.

The taxi cab yellow ROV with its pectoral “wings” looks more like a manta ray rather than a piece of high-tech camera equipment. The drone can be operated by a single pilot and is assisted by its onboard computer software. It can operate in water at pretty high speeds and can handle any lake or river depths .

The maker trained us on the ROV, which was really easy. There were a few of our members that took a day-long course on how to work it, it was that at easy! The company did the training for several members to be certified on the equipment, for us and others at the local YWCA pool and along Alton Riverfront Park. On the Sunday following the training, we took our ROV out again near the Alton Marina for more practical training. The Nova Ray surveys underwater sites and transmits video images to an operator that we can use for any purpose. On the front of the unit a camera sits behind a curved piece of glass and sends images up through a digital communications link. The system also includes scanning sonar and tracking systems letting us find anything, even in bottom mud.

This equipment is much more efficient than divers, it can stay underwater for an indefinite period of time and can detect things in the mud. Rescuers using the Nova Ray can record and document everything that is detected below the water’s surface for evidence purposes also. Everything is recorded on a disk. One of the best things about the system is its portability. It comes in three luggage-size containers, is equipped with a digital camera, sensors that give water temperature, lights and a 300 foot umbilical cord that easily packs into two of the large luggage containers. The command console is in a smaller third one.

We were pleased to get such an enormous grant and to get the Nova Ray. We know this equipment is worth the money and we are just really grateful to have it. We have been serving the community and educating the public since 1958, and this is a major advancement for us.

Extracted – Peggy Williams, Twin Rivers Search and Rescue


The Nova Ray with its innovative ‘arcuate’ hydrofoil!

Deployment time: In a rapid deployment scenario, the size and weight of the overall system becomes a very important issue. Large systems cannot be transported as easily, quickly or as inexpensively as small systems. Shipping the Nova Ray is as easy as packing for a trip. This feature enables quick response time and fast emergency deployment. 

Cable length: Some deployment sites are limited by available boats, or are limited due to the launch sites for the boat itself. For example, some situations require launching in a lake where only small boats can be used, or in wilderness lakes where the ROV system (including the boat) have to be airlifted to the deployment site. It is in scenarios like these where the Nova Ray’s operational characteristics, like rapid deployment and system size parameters, would make it a clear choice over the competition. 

Available surface platforms: When under tow, the Nova Ray can operate up to 70% deeper than conventional ROV or UTV systems using the same cable length as competitor systems. Without thrusters, the Nova Ray can operate at a ratio of 2.38:1. With thrusters, (at 1/2 the horsepower of competitors’ vehicles) the Nova Ray can reduce the ratio to 2:1. That is 2 feet of cable for every foot of depth. With less cable, the Nova Ray System is lighter, smaller and easy to deploy anywhere in the world on a rapid response basis.

Equipment: Competitive ROVs are usually “weighted down” to counteract the destabilizing effect of Vortex Shedding . The Nova Ray becomes more responsive with increasing water speed over the vehicle. Increased speed simply improves the Nova Ray’s “flying” abilities.  Competitors attach add-on components, such as scanning sonar, altimeter or tracking system, simply by bolting the add-on device to their non-hydrodynamic ROV frame. The information gathered is then conveyed up a larger umbilical to a separate system at the pilot control station on the surface. This can dramatically increase the size of the overall system. Some systems require a 20-foot container to house the ROV for travel and to accommodate the pilot controls. The pilot can have up to four or five separate monitors that display information from each component while also trying to “fly” the ROV and perform mission specific tasks. Besides increasing the cost of the system exponentially, the size for shipping the system increases, and the platform for ROV operations must increase as well, further driving up the cost of mission operations. [Nova Ray has none of these limitations.]

Extracted – OGN

Fácil operação mesmo em ambientes de alta

Ele é de fácil operação mesmo em ambientes de alta corrente. Suas asas arqueadas permitem que o veículo seja rebocado, no modo UTV (Underwater Towed Vehicle), com velocidades de até 4m/s. Com a utilização de propulsores, em modo ROV, o veículo pode atingir velocidades de até 2m/s.  Possui dois centros de gravidade, que podem ser trocados conforme as condições do ambiente, aumentando ou diminuindo seus torques restauradores. Além disto, o veículo incorpora a funcionalidade de autopiloto, na qual o operador pode ser ajudado pelo sistema do veículo de três formas: rumo fixo, asas niveladas e profundidade constante, sendo controladas pelo sistema contido no veículo. É movido por dois propulsores, localizados nas laterais do veículo. Seu controle é realizado através de dois lemes horizontais e um leme vertical.

Extracted – Fundação Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande

Fast Mobilization and Field Serviceability

The robust Nova Ray ROV offers comprehensive imaging and project applications. This provides user versatility with three configurations for multiple applications. Its high resolution sonar, both side scan and 360 degree forward scan, delivers full range imaging. Three configurations
are included standard with this model [Nova Ray 305 Model]. It incorporates the Nova Ray® ROV patented arcuate (bow shaped) wing that solves cable drag problems in strong currents and cross currents. The wing design allows the Nova Ray® ROV to use its tether to advantage. It can be towed– operating much like a kite — or fly under its own thruster power.

Like all Nova Ray ROVs, it delivers unequalled maneuverability, stability and performance. This portable, multi-use platform includes the specially designed Nova+ skids that provide for extra payload. Fast mobilization from inflatable boats to larger vessels makes it adaptable to applications in oceans, ports, rivers and wilderness lakes. With its true-axis flight, that makes a huge difference.

Extracted – Marine Exploration Services

Standard Linear Actuators Are Being Modified For Specialty Applications In Both Outer And ”inner” Space

Underwater Alterations: When developing new inspection-class submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for survey, inspection, and security applications, designers for Nova Ray, in Kirkland, WA, determined that the ROV had to operate in high-current conditions of up to 10 mph. That is the typical speed in ports, harbors, rivers, and inlets. The sophisticated ROV also had to be capable of operating in depths to 500 feet in remote areas such as rivers and lakes, have remotely controlled robotic capabilities, and be controlled via a digital operating system. What they came up with is the very impressive NOVA RAY ROV.

The NOVA RAY is very different from conventional underwater vehicles because it features a patented wing design that provides more stability when maneuvering around in the strong currents found in certain bodies of water. In addition, the NOVA RAY can be towed and it also has thruster power, and that combination makes it unique. But in order to achieve this stability it needed a linear actuator that could help control the flaps, which are used like rudders for the overall control of the vehicle itself.

To answer this need, Ultra Motion developed a series of “Inner Space” linear actuators that can provide up to 100 pounds of force and can be mounted outside of the submersible vessel, eliminating the need for complicated linkage and concerns about seals. The “Inner Space” devices are actually standard Digit actuators that are tailored to meet the needs of Nova Ray undersea work. The actuator used on the NOVA RAY features the standard NEMA 17 stepper motor, but it was modified with non-compressible oil and a rubber bellows. Because the bellows is very soft and will normally squash under the tremendous pressure of under sea applications, we filled the inside with non-compressible oil. This allows the bellows to give in to the pressure without collapsing. This [also] makes the pressure on the inside of the actuator exactly equal to the pressure on the outside, so the actuator doesn’t see any differential pressure. It doesn’t know the difference when it is down where the pressure is harsh, so it doesn’t try to fight that pressure.

Other modifications include a waterproof, high-pressure electrical connector that allows electrical connections to be made underwater without shorting out. And, the entire device is encased in shrink tubing and internally potted so that the only surfaces exposed to the seawater are the stainless steel end fittings. This means it can stay underwater for long periods of time without degradation.

These customized devices actuate the rudder and flaps that control the NOVA RAY ROV and allow it to be operated from an inflatable boat or small harbor patrol craft in search-and-rescue or search-and-recovery missions. Its stability also makes the ROV appropriate for inspecting of underwater elements such as gas and pipelines. It is also being considered for homeland security applications, as it is suitable for protecting infrastructures such as bridges and dams from underwater terrorism and for ship hull inspections.

Extracted – Joy LePrees, Product Design & Development

NovaRay Subsea Systems ROV 

Nova Ray is a tethered, rapidly deployable, stand-alone, and multi-function remotely operated vehicle (ROV) submarine survey platform. It is ideal for efficient large-area sweeps, reconnaissance missions, and fast hull inspections; capable of operating in adverse, high current situations that most production ROVs can not.

  • Operates in High Currents – up to 9 knots!!
  • Onboard Processor.
  • Can be towed and/or use thruster power.
  • Is portable and easily deployed – lightweight.
  • Has digital operating system.
  • Auto-pilot capabilities.
  • Upgrades easily with the most recent technology.

Extracted –