Find Expeditions Start an Expedition About Open Explorer

Flying a robot 6,000 miles away

September 8 2014
We're going to get Megan Cook, science enthusiasm volcano, onboard the E/V Nautilus in the Caribbean, to pilot an OpenROV in San Francisco, through the interwebs. Update: Until Nautilus is an option again, we're going to have people all over the world commuting in through telepresence to fly the ROV in the Test Tank here at OpenROV headquarters.

September 8 2014


Accept contributions for your expediton by providing us a few details. We will create an account on your behalf at WePay. If you haven't already registered with WePay, they will send you an email to complete your registration.

Mission Underway

Robots before breakfast!

The human connections we can share now with this technology blow my mind.

6am Hawaii time I was sitting at my kitchen table in Kailua simultaneously wheeling around OpenROV HQ in California.

Erika was wise to bumper my enthusiasm with a couple tips, "Just so you know as soon as you take control of my computer you're going to become a 5 foot tall, very heavy robot. Please don't crash into anything TOO hard".


How has the test for controlling the OpenROV via the interwebs been going?

Hello from sunny northern Utah!

my internets details

Download: 52.8 MPS
Upload: 2.84 MPS

:) Paul

Hey Paul, I know your view of OpenROV cockpit was somewhat pixelated. Can you post a photo of what your desktop looked like for comparison with this bandwidth data?

i tried to but it's bugging out when i try to upload an image.
do you mind trying from your end? Emailed the image to you. :)

Thanks again for a great Friday experience!

that's so weird. Gah!

Here's the challenge:

International pilots must take Phantom through the mesh opening, pick up the ziptie ring with a rod attached to the port battery pod, return through the opening and drop the ring into the pink basket.

Are you up to the challenge?


Everyone's internet bandwidth varies.

By getting folks all over the world to test and log their internet speed and compare that to their ability to fly the ROV today, we'll develop a good sense for how much bandwidth is needed as a standard operational limit.

As a baseline: Here at OpenROV headquarters our bandwidth is pretty good and we have no problem flying the ROV over our own internet.

Uploading at 1.2 Mbps and Downloading at 11Mbps

I've used to do an Internet Speed Test.


Telerobotics... Cool. I will be interested in learning about the optimum and minimum bandwidth needed for this. I am an amateur radio operator (HAM) and I am interested in investigating telerobotics using a radio to internet link in ROV operations. I'll hopefully be experimenting with VHF/UHF and possibly HF frequencies.

To get things rolling this morning, Megan Cook Beamed in from Hawaii and took the ROV through a few maneuvers.


We have two more pilots commuting in for the telerobotic challenge!

Here's the plan:

Get the free version of

Once I plug the ROV in and get OpenROV cockpit up and running, I'll send you an invitation to share my desktop. Then you'll take control of my laptop and the ROV controls! You'll have a mirrored display of my desktop and will be able to fly the ROV from your keyboard!

Left = Turn to Port
Right =Turn to Starboard
Up arrow = Move Forward
Down arrow = Move Aft

Shift = Ascend
Control = Descend

Q = Camera Tilt Up
Z = Camera Tilt Down
A = Camera return to center

L = Lasers on/off
I = Lights on/off

OpenROV cockpit looks something like this, depending on where you deploy your ROV:


Robots are back on the menu!

This expedition sort of fell by the wayside, but it's back in action! @megancook and @chspiten, are you both available friday?

We should have you both log in, one from Hawaii, the other from Norway, and take turns piloting Phantom through a challenge course in the test tank.




Due to some unexpected system wide maintenance the R/V Nautilus had to return to port a day early and shut down their broadband unfortunately thwarting our efforts for the time being. But we'll be back to give it another go on another cruise soon.

Preparation Stage

Ocean Exploration Trust has a cool ROV called Argus which flies above the big workhorse ROV and looks down on the entire sea floor.


Hercules is the larger of the two ROVs and is outfitted with manipulators, sampling devices, and other way cool instrumentation to explore the seafloor.

Photo Courtesy: Ocean Exploration Trust


Nice baby! Perhaps one day, this kind of commercial ROVs could be developed based on OpenROV technology.

Posted on behalf of Megan Cook:

I’m honored and stoked to be out to sea for the second year as a Mission Blue Young Explorer on the groundbreaking Exploration Vessel Nautilus, led by Dr. Bob Ballard and his Corps of Exploration. My job as the Lead Science Communication Fellow is to invite all of you along for the fun we’re having exploring the deep sea for the very first time. Mountains underwater that no one has seen before: count us in! We’re floating to the east of the British Virgin Islands in the Anegada Passage climbing up seamounts letting you be the first humans to see their slopes. Our ROVs have big cameras and what we find keeps blowing us away! 95% of the ocean is still unexplored. Put your name in the history books as an ocean explorer and join us in the deep sea.

Along the way the Nautilus Team wants to highlight how cool it is to be a scientist, engineer, and explorer. What is the single coolest way to demonstrate how awesome technology is? Play with robots, of course. Tune in while I drive a robot using strictly mind control—oh and technology—and the internet on Open Explorer! I’ll be learning as I go, under the watchful eye of submarine pilot and OpenROV-extraordinaire Erika Bergman.

Join us!

Expedition Background

Megan C. is onboard Bob Ballard's Expedition Ship the E/V Nautilus. The ship is outfitted with gigantic ROVs, outfitted for science, and high tech satellite equipment to stream ship and ROV footage live to your desktop as exploration happens!

Check it out Nautilus Live

We want to get Megan piloting 'Phantom,' an OpenROV, through time and space (the internet), from the deck of a moving ship in the middle of the ocean.

The ROV is in San Francisco, Megan is in the Caribbean, Let's do this.

Photo courtesy Ocean Exploration Trust


This is so cool! Not only for this actual expedition for more so for the possibilities this opens up.

My mind is wandering....

.....I am imagining a person with mobility impairments joining me on a reef dive through her ROV

.... I am imagining sitting in the lobby of a senior's residence while an elderly veteran instructs the operator to check out the tail Gunner's turret on a downed B-17