DLS Marine Builds Remote Survey Vehicle to Access Confined Spaces


A long-time customer of DLS Marine recently came to us with a knotty problem. The customer had 6 large pieces of marine equipment arriving at an East Coast port from the Middle East. The equipment was loaded on the cargo deck of a semi-submersible heavy lift ship.

The issue was that the contract read that the carrier’s liability for any damage that occurred during the loading and voyage ended when the cargo was lifted from the ship. Our customer needed to determine the condition of their equipment, and stake a claim, when much of the equipment was hidden by the stowage arrangement, and the bottom of the hulls were at the most 12” (30 cm.) above the deck.

Internal inspection would necessitate making all spaces safe for entry and involve two or three surveyors looking for damage and taking several days to complete internal tank inspections.

Within weeks our Drone specialist, Scott Bourgeois, built in house a custom Remote Survey Vehicle (RSV) specifically suited for the customer’s difficult problem.

The DLS solution was RSV-1. The DLS Marine RSV-1 (Remote Survey Vehicle) is the first of its kind remotely operated, WIFI enabled, 4K inspection rover. 

The base of the unit is a specially designed waterproof radio-controlled vehicle purpose built to move at very slow speeds over a variety of difficult terrain.  A first-person view (FPV) camera is mounted to the front of the vehicle and connected to an electronic long-range video transmitter.  This system sends live video back to the operator with a range of over 300’. The RSV can be operated via the 7” HD field monitor or through a set of goggles that give the operator the sensation of being on board the vehicle. The video recording is handled by a WIFI enabled ultra-high definition action camera that can be controlled via its own mobile phone app. 

The unit is additionally fitted with adjustable lights and an on-screen display module.  All electronics are wired into the vehicle’s electronic speed control and powered by the main battery.  The RSV is small enough to fit into a backpack and can be deployed in areas where people and other machines cannot access.

Instead of multiple surveyors, gas chemist costs, extra labor and definite delay with associated costs, the customer was able to receive a detailed look at the areas of concern and see what the surveyor saw in real time.

The RSV-1 is now in the DLS Digital Inspection arsenal along with multiple unmanned aerial vehicles and the DLS 360 survey.

The DLS 360 drone inspections have now been used for salvage, insurance, litigation, and lease condition documentation, all uses where high resolution digital photos and videos bring the situation and conditions of an asset or a site to the desk of the customer user.