Several shallow submarines areas are characterized by considerable releases of hydrocarbon gases, which, during earthquakes or volcanic activity, may suddenly and violently occur. In some instances, changes in chemical and physical properties of gas emissions, which are generated by geothermal systems connected to the volcanoes’ plumbing system, are important precursors of volcanic activity and useful indices for the study of the geothermal field. Furthermore, some superficial structures such faults, landslide slopes or archaeological relics should be studied with such a high detail that geophysical and bathymetric surveys are unable to provide.

In response to the needs increasingly felt of a completely customizable low cost tool for geological/geophysical/geochemical investigation of shallow submarine system, in the framework of the ROVER project, starting from an international project called OpenROV, is being implemented a micro-ROV for multidisciplinary environmental investigation.

In this paper, we will describe the project progress, with particular reference to the first tests conducted in pool and in sea water, the geophysical/geochemical instrumentation of which will be equipped and the automatic control algorithms that are being developed for the semi-automatic navigation.


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