2005-2006 RIT Multidisciplinary Senior Design Project #06606

Project Goal
Create an underwater vehicle for exploring shipwrecks on Lake Ontario capable of diving to depths of up to 400 feet. The vehicle should be remotely operable, and should return a live video feed as well as sensor readings for pressure, temperature, and compass heading.

Several shipwrecks have been located in Lake Ontario but remain undocumented. These shipwrecks lie at depths which are dangerous for humans to dive to without expensive equipment. Diving also requires an extensive amount of time to decompress. Many ROV’s are built by hobbyists that can accomplish some of these objectives, but they lack the structural integrity necessary to dive to 400 feet. Commercial ROV’s that are able to dive to this depth are available but they are expensive and lack customizability. By designing an ROV as an educational project, the ROV will be less expensive, structurally sound, and customized to meet sponsor needs.

The vehicle is connected via a tether to a laptop computer located on the boat. The user controls the vehicle with an attached joystick and will be able to receive live video feedback and sensor information. The video can be stored either on the laptop or through an external VCR. Temperature, pressure, errors and directional feedback will be provided to the user.

The Finished Product
On February 19, 2006, a successful pool test was conducted for the completed ROV. The craft met every critical design goal, although clearly the team was unable to test the 400-ft depth goal due to the cold weather conditions.

For more information on shipwrecks and underwater exploration, visit