Safely exploring the unknown with Remote Operated Vehicles
Growing up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario endeared Sam MacDonald to the mysteries of the deep. Tobermory, Ontario is known for its jumble of ancient shipwrecks that attract divers from far and wide to explore their rotted hulls and sunken bows — and it’s here that Sam got her scuba license and discovered her passion.
“One summer, we dropped a flashlight over the side of our boat which inspired a conversation with my friends about how great it would be to have a remote-controlled robot to retrieve it.” From there, Sam was inspired to explore the world of robotics.
We want to create awareness by making tools that help uncover our underwater world and keep Canadians safe.
ROV’s or Remote Operated Vehicles have been around since the 1960s. Sam knew she wasn’t inventing the wheel but what she did know was that what was out there was expensive and complicated. She wanted to make them better.
After developing their first ROV prototype, Sam and her business partner Jeff endeavoured to find the right market for their robots. A firm in Norway selling underwater products to fishing farms was their first buyer, and from there, business started booming. Since then, Deep Trekker’s ROVs have been utilized for commercial salvage, underwater discovery, submerged infrastructure monitoring, and most notably by Canada’s Armed Forces to combat underwater warfare.
These remotely operated vehicles can be submerged underwater to inspect infrastructure, ships, embark on search and rescue missions, and detect threats to Canadian security and our marine biology. “Often, if we can’t see it, we pay no mind to it,” says Sam. “Our robotics are designed to go places that aren’t normally seen.”
“There is a tremendous amount of underwater infrastructure that people don’t know about or underwater warfare, biology and ecology that people don’t know about. We want to create awareness by making tools that help uncover our underwater world and keep Canadians safe.”
The end goal of a Deep Trekker ROV is to keep divers out of harm’s way and explore those unknown depths. It’s safer to send an ROV into a submerged area first to assess any threats before putting divers at risk in contaminated areas or tight spaces.
With a keen interest in Marine biology, Sam is one of Deep Trekker’s most loyal users. Her underwater exploration ROVs are equipped with HD cameras and can easily navigate underwater ecosystems safely. “Every weekend we’re out on the water checking out new places. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt every time we put an ROV underwater and find something we didn’t know was out there.”