It is only recent technological advances in underwater robotics systems, like the Leopard, that make these tasks possible, says the University.
Other tasks undertaken by Kaiyo Engineering will further exploit the advanced capabilities of the Leopard and Falcon.
One such task is to enhance the tsunami early warning seismographic monitoring system on the sea floor and install 45 kilometres of new sensors and transponders.
With 40 years’ experience in marine biological research, now to include mineral extraction evaluation, Kaiyo Engineering is the only private company in Japan using its own ships to undertake scientific tasks.
These ships first survey the oceans using sonar to identify hydrothermal vent activity and then send down the Leopard, supported by the Falcon, to survey, then film and gather samples.
“A lot of potential”
Kaiyo chose the 3000 metre rated Leopard for the project because they say, its advanced technology offers “a lot of potential” for achieving the wide range of tasks to be undertaken now and in the future.
With its 11 thrusters and advanced iCON intelligent control architecture, the Leopard is the most powerful electric underwater robotic system of its size in the world.
It has the power and capability to undertake most work tasks, including such tasks as the removal and re-laying of the seismographic units, at a fraction of the cost of ownership of an equivalent hydraulic work vehicle.
The combination of thruster power and iCON intelligent control also means the Leopard can hold station whilst working in strong currents and undertaking precision tasks.
This control allows it to remain stable both in flight and on task whilst fitted with a range of large and heavy systems and tooling.