CHENNAI: The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) presented an indigenously developed Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe) on Wednesday which will help scientists study polar influence on ocean currents believed to have an effect on Indian monsoon cycles.
Unveiled by Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan at NIOT campus, PROVe was deployed and tested successfully for results in the shallow Priadarshini Lake at a depth of 64 m, located within one of India’s Antarctic bases - Maitri in February.
Talking to reporters, Harsh Vardhan lauded the engineering effort behind the manufacture of the generator-sized vehicle. “Monsoon prediction and reading of pattern will become easier in the future,” he said.
Speaking to Express, NIOT director MA Atmanand said developing the vehicle, which is said to have cost less than `1 crore, was an engineering challenge. “The difficulty was in creating a body that will withstand the harsh climatic conditions. The water below the ice cap in Antarctica is not so much a problem as the ambient air temperature that can be freezing at -10 and -20 degrees,” he said.
“We also had to take into account chill factor, which is the condition when with the wind blowing and picking up chillness from the ice caps, the feeling would be of a ten degree drop in temperature despite the actual temperature showing no changes,” he added.
Operated remotely by scientists on board the ship, the bot with its built in thrusters allowing 360-degree movement can be lowered to a depth of 200m and will help collect data from sub-surface mooring systems that are already in place, said Atmanand. Parameters such as conductivity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, irradiance among others could be studied with the help of PROVe.
“PROVe is a cousin of our other ROV ROSUB 6000 which was developed with help from Russians and which can go up to a depth of 6 km. But what makes PROVe distinct is that though there are other ROVs that can go to a similar depth, none of them can do it in the freezing conditions of Arctic and Antarctic region,” Atmanand said.
Earlier, speaking at the launch event, secretary for MoES Shailesh Nayak said PROVe showcases the capacity building of India. “This puts us on equal terms with countries like Japan, USA, France and others,” he said.
PROVe will collect data for analysis in June 2015 which would be subsequently put to use to prove the hypothesis about the link between Antarctic Ocean currents and Indian monsoon system.