India gets remote-controlled polar vehicle

It will substantially enhance India’s capabilities to predict monsoon , says Harsh Vardhan

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 25 March 2015


Union Minister for Earth Sciences and Science & Technology Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday dedicated an indigenously developed remote-controlled polar vehicle to the nation which, he said, would make monsoon predictions more accurate.

The minister inaugurated the vehicle during a visit to the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), a part of the Earth System Sciences Organization (ESSO) in Chennai on Wednesday evening, according to an official press release.

The vehicle’s successful development by ESSO-NIOT signals the beginning of a process of both self-sufficiency and entry into the highly sophisticated field of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) engineering which has hitherto been dominated by western powers.

“We have taken the polar plunge. The vehicle and its subsequent versions will enable us to understand the polar influence on ocean currents affecting the movement of monsoon winds on which much of our economy depends,” said  Vardhan.

He continued: “Monsoon prediction and reading of pattern will become easier in the future. It will measure parameters like ocean currents, temperature and salinity in the Arctic. A moored ocean observatory has been set up in the Arctic in collaboration with the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in 2014.”

The minister said, “The ESSO-NIOT team that participated in the 34th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica successfully deployed the vehicle in the Priyadarshini Lake located on the Schirmacher Oasis in Antarctica which is the source of water for Maitri, India’s second base in the icy continent.”

He added that the systems of the vehicle, PROVe, have been integrated with conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen sensors and irradiance meter.  PROVe was later deployed near the ice shelf by ship at the India Bay in Antarctica at a depth of 62 metres.  Further explorations and data analysis are in progress.

The country, he said, was on track to developing reliable technology to solve the varied technology problems associated with harvesting living and non-living resources in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone which makes up about two-thirds of the land area of India.

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