Tech Talk: Remotely operated vehicles

March 15, 2016 21:32

Underwater vehicle will be available to marine researchers, as well as the environmentalist nonprofit EcoOcean and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.

2 minute read.

Suez Canal

A view of Israel, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Suez canal. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The first Israeli underwater remotely operated vehicle, which was recently launched can reach depths that human divers are not able to.

The Science, Technology and Space Ministry decided to give the RO V a woman’s name: Galila, Ruby or Yamit.

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The RO V is a technological breakthrough that will enable scientists to explore the bottom of the Mediterranean Ocean and the Red Sea, and collect specimens that might possibly help develop new medicines and other products in the future. It will be available to marine researchers, as well as the environmentalist nonprofit EcoOcean and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat (with the support of the ministry).

“The sea is a natural treasure that belongs to all of us,” said Andreas Weill, director of EcoOcean. “If we don’t want special interests groups controlling the waters, the government must explore the world under the floor of the sea and use our resources wisely and in a way that does not harm the environment.”

EcoOcean researchers will be able to take the RO V on its research vessel, the Mediterranean Explorer in the Mediterranean, and the Interuniversity Institute will be able to take it on its research vessel, the Sam Rothberg out on the Red Sea. The RO V has the capability to observe and film in high resolution activity taking place at depths of up to 500 meters beneath the surface. Researchers can remotely operate the RO V’s arm, enabling it to carry out very delicate operations such as taking specimen samples. Dr. Gitai Yahel, Prof. Amatzia Genin and Prof. Micha Ilan are carrying out studies of coral and sponges for the Israeli health and cosmetic industries.

The cost of the RO V is NIS 1.6 million.

Scientific competitions

This past Sunday, the Knesset approved the proposal put forward by Science, Technology and Space Minister Ophir Akunis that calls for his ministry to subsidize student delegations at science competitions that take place abroad. The government will allocate NIS 1m. for this program in 2016.

“The object of this historic decision,” said Akunis, “is for Israel to become one of the world’s greatest innovators. Israeli students are smart, intelligent and brilliant. Our excellent national champions often come in first place at international competitions. I am extremely happy that the proposal I put forward to allocate funding for this important purpose received Knesset approval.”

Every year, several student groups participate in international science and technology competitions after winning awards here in Israel, or after applying directly. Up until now, students have either foregone participating due to the high cost of traveling overseas, or paid expenses out of pocket. At times, individuals or schools manage to access private sources for funding the trips.

The Science, Technology and Space Ministry is calling upon public and academic institutions that conform to the standards set by the ministry to apply for funding to be used at international competitions.

If you run a young start-up, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact [email protected]m.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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