Nova Ray ROV FAQs

/Nova Ray ROV FAQs
Nova Ray ROV FAQs 2017-09-17T05:05:28+00:00

Nova Ray® ROV FAQs

Nova Ray ROV FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions About The Nova Ray Winged ROVs

Nova Ray Model Information:

Why Choose A Now Ray? 2017-09-17T07:00:47+00:00

Payload, Performance and Field Serviceability

The patented Nova Ray provides faster, easier and more profitable project results with its multi-function platform.

Key distinctions are:

All models have the option of adding tracking and navigation systems (see Options). Field service and maintenance is easily achieved with a Nova Ray®. The electronics are quickly removed from the housing for repair or maintenance at the job site. The overall modular capabilities and portability make the Nova Ray® an exceptional value.

  • Under tow operates in 8-10 knot currents
  • Can be towed at speeds above 8 knots
  • Using thrusters (1/3 HPp) operates at 6 knots (optional 1/2 HP at 8 knots)
  • Imaging capabilities for challenging environments
  • Operates in zero or low visibility
  • Simultaneously view/record sonar and video
  • Light weight with quick assembly and launch, even from limited platforms
  • Fully digital operating system
  • Easy upgrade and integration of user-specified peripheral devices
  • Convenient auto pilot capabilities and field serviceability
Who Invented & Designs The Nova Ray 2017-08-12T09:28:27+00:00

The Nova Rays were invented by the Geriene Brothers

The Nova Ray family of Winged ROVs are the creation of the two inventors: Marc Geriene and Krist Geriene, who also hold the patents on their unique Arcuate Wing design and other technology.

Krist Geriene is the company’s R&D Officer and Chief Technologist. Krist Geriee also oversees all aspects of manufacturing and quality assurance.

Visit the Evolution of the Nova Ray timeline for more on this.

Also visit our company’s Leadership Page for more about Marc & Krist Geriene.

What Is The Difference Between The Nova Ray Marine Fliers & The Deep Diver Models? 2017-09-17T05:08:10+00:00

It’s all about maximum operating depth!

What Is The Difference Between The Nova Ray Marine Fliers & The Deep Diver Models?

  • Nova Ray 305 – 305 Meters
  • Nova Ray 550 – 550 Meters
  • Nova Ray 1500 – 1,500 Meters (option for 2,500)
  • Nova Ray 4000 – 4,000 Meters

The Nova Ray Marine Flier series models have nominal maximum depths of 305 Meters and 550 Meters respectively. These models cover 90% of the operational depths worldwide.

The Nova Ray Deep Diver series models provide for much deeper depths of 1,500 Meters (2,500 Meters optional), or 4,000 Meters.

The Nova Ray Deep Diver series are much larger / heavier models that require davit/crane or launch rail deployment, unlike the smaller portable Nova Ray Marine Fliers models.

However, like all Nova Ray models, they are designed to be extremely adaptable to multiple sensors and missions/applications.

Nova Ray Science:

Are Our ROVs Different From Those Of Other Companies? 2017-09-17T05:07:08+00:00

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.

To put it simply: YES!

Very Different!

Please visit our ROV Comparison Chart to see the differences; but in a nutshell our ROVs offer a revolutionary new design based upon a much more stable and higher performance winged design – an Arcuate Wing!

We have also engineered them to be much easier to operate that other ROVs, easier to maintain and repair, resulting in substantially more work done with higher quality data, at a higher return on your investment. Nova Ray ROVs offer the broadest range of applications of any ROV because of this.

Why Do You Need Wings For True Axis Flight 2017-09-17T04:52:28+00:00

The winged Nova Ray ROV design solves long-time industry struggles with cable drag in strong currents. The patented wing design eliminates the phenomenon known as “Dutch Roll Instability” by incorporating the “Arcuate” form wing with a rudder.

The bow-shaped wing of the Nova Ray ROV counteracts the lifting force of the umbilical or tether. Therefore, the speed of the boat or current will have little effect on the operational stability of the Nova Ray. The wing increases cable use efficiency and reduces the amount of cable necessary to operate or tow at depth. At the same time, it creates a remarkably stable ROV.

Under thruster power, the wing operates just as a high winged airplane would in free flight (except Nova Ray wings are designed for downward force instead of aircraft upward force or lift). Under tow, the arcuate wing, combined with the seamless shift in the center of rotation from the cable pull, produces a stable configuration.

Nova Ray Specs:

How Fast Can A Nove Ray Go? 2017-09-17T05:20:37+00:00

How Many Knots Can Be Achieved Under Thruster Power And Under Tow?

Free flying under thruster power: 4 ½ knots under thruster power with 1/4 HP thrusters (not standard), and with 1/3 HP thrusters (included standard) up to 6 knots, and up to 8 knots with 1/2 HP thrusters (optional)

Under tow there is not actual top end speed, however, typically between 8 to 10 knots under tow with deeper operation and less cable than other Underwater Towed Vehicles (UTV).

Note that tether strength impacts tow speed.

What Size Thrusters Does Nova Ray Use? 2017-09-17T05:16:14+00:00

What Size Thrusters Are Used And What Is The Rated Horsepower?

The Nova Ray 305 & 550 Models are designed with thrusters to operate in strong currents with minimum and maximum power ranges.

Standard Thrusters: two 1/3 hp thrusters, variable DC power.
Option: Increased horsepower for enhanced project needs.

Why Are Nova Rays Not Battery Powered? 2017-09-17T05:08:28+00:00

Battery Power Equals Limited Use Time

When you have an ROV that is battery-powered, you are limited by the battery charge. Just ask any aerial drone pilot if flight time limits are a challenge, requiring extra batteries galore to fulfill basic missions. Same is true in battery-powered ROVs and AUVs.

The Nova Ray can operate continuously for days or weeks at a time without ever having to remove it from the water for a recharge, because power comes through the cable. Some claim the use battery power reduces cable drag – no power cable means a smaller cable cross-section. However, what this speaks to is the battery powered ROVs do not have sufficient power to pull long tethers to begin with, and use batteries as a selling tool, instead of what it really is – a severe limitation.

Real-time data gathering (i.e live video and sonar, as opposed to recorded) requires continuous high-density data communication which is not possible without a cable.  Thus the use of a cable for data also permits power to be supplied which can actually provide more power for higher performance.  Thus if real-time data and feedback underwater are important, then taking full advantage of the umbilical is only logical, assuming that the ROV has the performance needed to pull longer tethers, which Nova Ray ROVs certainly do (unlike so many others).

Battery power has its place in low-cost, low power consumer/light commercial class camera vehicles, but real work requires real commercial/industrial grade ROVs such as the Nova Ray.

However, the tether can be lightened or reduced by using fiber-optics instead of metal data cable.

Who Was The First Portable ROV? 2017-09-17T05:09:32+00:00

Nova Ray is the world’s first portable ROV

Truly! Drop & Go Ready™

Lots of new drone and robotics makers are eying the ROV market as open to their devices, yet have very little true experience in actually performing work underwater. While it is easy to assemble something and call it an ROV, unless you have spend decades using them, the nuanced control and design requirements are overlooked.

Portability is one of those.

The Nova Ray can easily be transported packed into its carrying case, or fully ready to drop in the water. Fully assemble it fits in any pickup truck, SUV, or standard car’s trunk ready to drop and go! And it has been since 2000! So who was first? Exactly!

Here is a perfect example of Drop & Go Ready


Where Does The Nova Ray Get Its Power? 2017-09-17T05:10:31+00:00

Honda EU3000i Handi 3000W Portable Generator

Use a Small Generator or Shipboard Power

Nova Ray ROVs (current 305 & 550 models) are powered by their umbilical power cable (in the tether), they do not carry batteries on board. (Though we are looking at autonomous products – such as the AeroSub™ – that will be battery-powered in the future.)

The power required to operate the Nova Ray ROV at full power indefinitely is less than 2000W – meaning a 2000W portable generator is perfect to power the Nova Ray, where shipboard power is inadequate or not available. The 2000W powers not only the ROV, but also the command and control computer, monitors, etc. – the “whole shebang”

We suggest a 50% overcapacity, since you may want power for other purposes as well.

A suggested generator would be the 3000W models from Honda (which is what we use on our R&D Boat when testing our 305 & 550 models.

What Kind Of Navigational Software Is Used? 2017-09-17T05:24:03+00:00

Nove Ray Uses Proprietary ROV Positioning and Navigation Control Software

Nova Ray has s specially developed proprietary Command and Control software system. This was a necessary and important step for Nova Ray performance specifications. Its unique design and the challenging demands for performance in adverse conditions required an equally robust Command and Control software system. Navigational systems are available from several companies, and can be integrated into the Nova Ray system, and work in conjunction with the vehicle’s Command and Control software.

Additionally, as new breakthroughs in technology emerge, the Nova Ray system is upgradeable (even at sea) to the latest available.

Where Is The Umbilical Attached And Why This Location? 2017-09-17T18:11:59+00:00

Nova Ray has a unique attachment point.

The primary attachment point is located at the top of the hull just forward of center of mass.

Nova ray has a unique adjustable attachment point, that allows the adjustment of the position of the attachment based upon the center of mass of the ROV. In other words, you can adjust the position further forward or backward to accommodate different sensors so the Nova Ray is always balanced.

What Kind Of Umbilical Is Used? 2017-09-17T05:12:33+00:00

The Nova Ray Can Use Almost Any Umbilical*

* As long as it has the right strength and number of conductors.

The Nova Ray uses an umbilical for precision sending and receiving of communications between the ROV and the pilot Control Console, and for sending power to the vehicle. The thickness of the umbilical is not an operational concern since the Nova Ray is designed to overcome umbilical induced drag and instability.

Standard: 12 conductor umbilical, neutrally buoyant.
Standard Included Length: 300 ft. umbilical (longer lengths available)
Fiber Optics: Option available at additional cost and delivery time.

Nova Ray Use:

What Is Dual Mode Operation? 2017-09-17T05:14:33+00:00

What Are The Advantages Of Dual Mode: Towed & Free Flight Operation?

Underwater conditions are continually challenging. Thrusters can be used to visually inspect a target located while towing, without having to launch additional equipment. Having both options allows for the ability to work in adverse conditions and environments more efficiently, saving time and money.

What Do We Have To Know To Use A Nova Ray ROV? 2017-08-12T09:29:55+00:00

Nova Ray ROV

Nova Ray Knowledge Needed

To effectively use a Nova Ray ROV y0u have to have knowledge in the following:

  • Certification as a Nova Ray pilot
  • A thorough understanding of the data you are trying to collect and what you are going to use it for
  • A knowledge of what you are going to be searching for or looking at using the sensors or cameras on the Nova Ray
  • How to manage your vessel to avoid damaging the Nova Ray
  • How to provide power to the Nova Ray and manage the tether/cable/umbilical
  • Safety best practices for using an ROV

If the Nova Ray is equipped with optional manipulators or other specialized tool, these may require significantly higher degrees of technical knowledge and experience.

Where Do We Operate Our Nova Rays? 2017-08-12T09:35:41+00:00

The Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, Dams, and WaterwaysAnywhere There Is Water!

Nova Rays (specifically our 305/550 meter models) can be operated from the surface down to their rated maximum depth. If there is at least 2.5 feet of free water depth you can operate a Nova Ray 305 Model (though more water depth would be preferred for ease of maneuvering).

Nova Rays are stable operating at the surface and immediately below the surface to any depth in between. The performance characteristics of the Nova Rays offer superior stability under the full range of operating conditions and depths, while under controlled-two or free flying.

The Nova Ray can spin/rotate on it center of axis, so it is one of the most flexible ROVs on the market, but also has the stability and control needed for real operations.

This makes them ideal for much higher mission flexibility, delivering better return on investment.

Because the Nova Rays are also portable they can be used in inland waterways such as rivers, dams, and lakes. They can be used in any body of water where you can provide power.

How Many People Does It Take To Operate A Nova Ray? 2017-08-12T09:48:36+00:00

One or Two People can operate a Nova Ray

For the Nova Ray 305/550 Models this is typically two crew members.

  1. Certified Nova Ray Pilot
  2. Spotter / Cable-Tether Management

Nova Rays can be easily operated with small crews saving money for the operator. However it is possible to operate with just one person depending on the mission. For example, if operating from an open boat stationary in the water, the pilot can control the ROV and manage cable deployment, especially using the include auto-pilot mode. If the vessel is in motion, and especially if the pilot is inside/below decks then a spotter / tether manger should be on deck to control the umbilical and address any power connection issues (such as a portable generator providing power).

For the Nova Ray Deep Diver models, these typically require a crew of three, since it is best practice to have two operating the winch during deployment independent of the pilot.

Crew typically work schedules of 8 to 12 hours while at sea if continuous operation is being performed.

How Difficult Is It To Pilot A Nova Ray? 2017-08-12T09:49:06+00:00

Piloting a Nova Ray is easy!

If you can race a car in a video game, you can learn to pilot a Nova Ray quickly.

Typical Pilot Training & Certification is provided in just two days – one pilot certification training is included with each Nova Ray purchase.

Training consists of one day classroom, and one day at sea.

Training covers:

  • Transportation of the complete unit
  • Assembly and disassembly
  • Operation – mechanical, electrical, electronics
  • Safety & hazard considerations
  • Tether/Cable/Umbilical management – towing & free-flight
  • Instrumentation/sensor use and data gathering
  • Maintenance & repair
  • Mission Planning & Optimization fro maximum ROI

Additional pilots can be trained for an additional fee.

Do Nova Rays Use A Top Hat Or Cage? 2017-09-17T05:10:15+00:00

Yes and No!

Nova Ray ROVs are available in two series:

  • Nova Ray Marine Fliers – smaller & portable winged ROVs
  • Nova Ray Deep Divers – larger ROVs

Both types can use Top Hats or Cages, depending upon the application or need, but do not require them. Both are types of tether management systems (TMSs) and are used to deploy ROVs from the surface to the working depth. A side-entry cage can be used for more moderate depths where the ROV is simply parked and secured while it is raised and lowered in the water.

However, typically the smaller Nova Ray models (305/550) do not require either since the Nova Rays are fully capable of pulling their tethers down to depth because of their better performance and radically smaller tether depth to length ratio. The Nova Ray 305 & 550 can easily be hand deployed.

The larger Nova Ray Deep Diver 1,500 & 4000 would be typically used with a Cage or Top Hat to facilitate raising and lowering without putting the stress on the umbilical attach-point, and also since these are used from larger vessels – to protect the ROVs as they are pulled aboard.


How Does The Command And Control System Work? 2017-09-17T05:36:10+00:00

Just Like A Drone!

There are two basic modes of use with the Nova Ray:

  • Manual Control
  • Automatic Pilot

The ROV pilot has up to four auto pilot modes:

  • Wings Level
  • Heading Hold
  • Depth Hold
  • Altitude Hold (with optional altimeter purchase)

The Nova Ray has sophisticated software engineered to compensate for deviations to course, depth and wing attitude. The Auto-Pilot  enables the operator to multi-task and concentrate on specific project demands. To make control changes, the operator simply moves the joy stick or slides the thrust control.

Can The Nova Ray Be Repaired At Sea? 2017-09-17T05:32:22+00:00

Yes It Can!

Nova Rays are designed and built for industrial grade tasks. They are much more rugged than typical “eyeball” or video only light-commercial or consumer grade ROVs.

However, things still happen, and when they do you do not want to lose time returning to port and then waiting for a repair. You want an ROV that has close to no downtime.

Nova Rays come with a full maintenance agreement, that give you spare parts that allows for critical repairs at sea (except in the case of significant structural damage), and its modular design will allow for most repairs in an hour or less using the standard tool kit we also provide.

General ROV Knowledge:

What Is An ROV? 2017-08-28T12:11:50+00:00

Nova Ray Model 305 ROV OutlineAn ROV is an Unmanned Remotely Operated Vehicle.

Basically it is an underwater drone attached to a cable (for control, data & power).

The cable / tether / umbilical provides the power to the ROV and serves as the data path back to the command & control console where the pilot operates the ROV by remote control. The pilot typically guides the ROV by seeing what the ROV cameras and sensors sees, guiding it to areas of interest or on a course to collect the desired data.

For a more complete definition see the Wikipedia article here »

For a comparison of different types of ROVs visit our About ROVs Page.

How Are ROVs Classified? 2017-09-17T05:06:38+00:00


21st Century ROVs are classified by their purpose, size, maximum depth capability, total thruster or maneuverability horsepower, and if tyhey are equiped with manipulators or other usable tools.

ROVs are generally classified as:

  • Consumer Grade ROVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle UUV) – powered by umbilical cable
    • Consumer Camera ROVs – typically under $10,000 in price
    • Micro Class Camera ROVs – typically under $25,000 in price
  • Light Commercial Grade ROVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle UUV)  – powered by umbilical cable
    • Low-Power Observation ROVs (Mini Class) – typically under $100,000
    • Light General Observation Class – typically under $200,000
    • Light Work Class – typically over $200,000
  • Industrial/Commercial Grade ROVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle UUV)  – powered by umbilical cable
  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) – self-powered/no umbilical cable
    • Consumer AUVs – very short duration (under 1 hour) – typically under $10,000 in price
    • Light Commercial – more robust design  – short duration (under 2 hours) – typically over $200,000 in price
    • Industrial / Military  – medium duration (under 48 hours) – typically over $1,000,000 in price
  • Towed Devices / ROVs
    • Tow Fish – towed low/no maneuverability senor platform – typically over $10,000
    • Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Devices – low stability – low/medium maneuverability – cameras AND/OR sensor platforms
    • Full Controlled Tow Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Devices – high stability – high maneuverability – cameras AND sensor platforms  – only Nova Ray falls in this class


  • Nova Ray 305 & 550 Meter Models are BOTH a General Observation Class AND a Full Controlled Tow Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Device
  • Nova Ray 305 & 550 Meter Models with the optional manipulator arm are a General Observation Class AND Medium Work Class AND a Full Controlled Tow Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Device
  • Nova Ray 1500 & 4000 Meter Models are BOTH a Heavy Observation Class AND a Full Controlled Tow Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Device
  • Nova Ray 1500 & 4000 Meter Models with the optional manipulator arm are a Heavy Observation & Work Class AND a Full Controlled Tow Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Device

For a Comparison of ROV Types Click Here »

• Consumer Camera ROVs < $10k < 100m  < 1HP 0-2kn Very Short Duration Hobby/Video
• Micro Class Camera ROVs < $25k < 100m  < 2HP 0-2kn  Short Duration Minimal Control Drop Camera
• Consumer AUVs < $10k  < 10m  < 1HP 0-2kn  Very Short Duration Hobby/Video
• Low-Power Observation ROVs (Mini Class) < $100k  < 100m  < 1HP  0-2kn  Short – Medium Duration Minimal Control Drop Camera
• Light General Observation Class ROVs < $200k  < 300m  < 3HP  0-3kn  Medium Duration Minimal Control Video
• Light Work Class ROVs > $200k  < 300m  < 5HP  0-3kn  Medium Duration Minimal Control Video & Single Sonar
• Light Commercial AUVs > $200k  < 100m  < 1HP  0-2kn  Very Short Duration Minimal Control Video & Single Sonar
• Tow Fish -Towed Sensor > $10k  < 100m  none  0-4kn  Short – Medium Duration Single Data Sensor
• General Observation Class ROVs (Nova Ray) > $200k  < 550m  < 10HP  0-4kn
Nova Ray
Long Duration Medium Control Video & Sensor
Nova Ray Dual Cameras & Dual Sensors +
• Medium Work Class ROVs (Nova Ray) > $200k  < 550m  < 10HP 0-4kn
Nova Ray
Long Duration Medium Control Video & Manipulator
Nova Ray Dual Cameras & Dual Sensors + Manipulator
• Heavy Observation Class ROVs (Nova Ray) > $1MM  < 4000m  < 25HP 0-4kn
Nova Ray
Long Duration Control Video & Payload
Nova Ray Multiple Cameras & Multiple Sensors / Payload
• Heavy Work Class ROVs > $1MM  < 4000m  < 300HP  0-4kn Long Duration Control Video & Payload / Manipulator
• Trenching/Burial ROVs > $1MM  < 1000m  **  ** Bottom Work
• Industrial / Military AUVs > $1MM  < 300m  < 10HP  0-3kn Shorter Duration Medium Control Video & Sensor
• Tow Fish – Towed Sensor > $200k  < 300m  none  0-4kn Long Duration Sensor Platform
• Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Devices > $500k  < 500m  < 10HP  0-4kn Long Duration Sensor Platform
• Full Controlled Tow Observation / Survey / Inspection Towed Devices (Nova Ray) > $200k  surface to 4000m +  < 10HP  0-10+kn Very High Stability Long Duration Video Observation & Sensor Platform

* Based Upon The Underwater Robotics Association Classification System Copyright © 2017 – Creative Commons License

** Typically Bottom Crawlers or Plows  < = Less Than  > = Greater Than


Why Do ROVs Have Tether Cables or Umbilicals? 2017-09-17T05:09:58+00:00

An ROV Cable / Tether / UmbilicalThe Tether / Cable / Umbilical is an essential part of an ROV

The reason is simple. Radio waves do not work very well (or at all) underwater. Water absorbs the radio waves that are used to control aerial drones.

This leaves two options:

  1. Tethering (with a cable/umbilical)
  2. Or completely autonomous with little or no communications

For the vast majority of operations, the tethering approach works. Unfortunately, using a tether brings challenges in control and stability of the ROV. The NOVA RAYs are designed the eliminate or vastly reduce these destabilizing forces (see our Arcuate Wing page for more on this).