Amphibian Rover – Crawling ROV for Seabed Discovery

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Published: 3 August 2017

The fact that 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water is already well-known, but the reality that science have only managed to explore 5% of this area until now is quite perplexing. The reasons are simple, underwater exploration is expensive, time consuming with little return of investment. The ocean’s dynamics and extreme conditions often results in ocean exploration being almost impossible for humans, especially with the present tools and machinery we have. However, this has not stopped researchers and explorers worldwide from inventing new technologies and equipment to withstand the harsh conditions of the ocean’s realm and advancing in ocean exploration.

This inspired a group of researchers from UniKL Malaysian Institute of Marine Engineering Technology (UniKL MIMET) led by Mr Ahmad Makarimi, research coordinator and lecturer together with his team of students – Maisarah Hanani Mohd Shah (Diploma of Engineering Technology in Ship Design), Muhammad Farhan Yazid (Diploma of Engineering Technology in Ship Construction and Maintenance) as well as Khairul Arieef Abu Jalil, (Bachelors of Engineering Technology in Marine Electrical and Electronic) to invent the Amphibian Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle – ROV for seabed discovery.

“UARC 1 is created as a vehicle which
will be beneficial to all marine related industries.”

UniKL Amphibious Research Crawler I (UARC I)

The amphibian rover which is fitted with a camera can travel on land and in water efficiently.

Known as UniKL Amphibious Research Crawler I (UARC I), it is designed to withstand Malaysia’s irregular seafloor terrain and is able to operate at a depth of 15 meters underwater. The vehicle is also equipped with a video camera and is controlled using a cable up to the distance of 15 meters. The innovation was developed based on the assessment that underwater operations and exploration costs involving existing technology is very expensive. The lack of local experts also forces local companies to depend on specialists from abroad.

Underwater ROVs have a significant role and are high in-demand in marine and offshore fields. The UARC 1 is designed with minimum cost using materials which are easily available in hardware stores. As such it is cheaper compared to the present and commercially available ROV’s in the market. Initial test was done 5 metres below sea level and the results were promising. The traction tire and materials used responded well to the underwater conditions and allowed the UARC 1 to travel on the seabed floor efficiently.

The development and improvement of the underwater crawler is currently in progress. The immediate aim is to create a crawler which is able to operate and travel 30 metres below sea level as well as on multiple seabed surfaces. Its commercialisation prospects include for the Oil & Gas Industry, marine research and conservation as well as search & rescue.

The innovation has also won local and international research and innovation awards notably the Gold medal at the 2th International Invention and Exhibition (ITEX 2016) and the silver medal at Malaysia Technology Expo 2016.

The vast ocean continues to present its own aura of mystery and source of inspiration. It continues to play a very big part in our lives, driving weather, regulating temperature, and supporting all living being. Throughout history, the ocean has been a vital source of sustenance, transport and commerce. As science and men continue to explore the unchartered waters, technological advancement in ocean exploring will continue to reach new heights, and hopefully UniKL MIMET will one day be at the forefront of it all.

UARC 1 by UniKL MIMET has won numerous innovation awards locally and abroad.


Ahmad Makarimi Abdullah is Senior Lecturer at the UniKL MIMET.

Electrochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry
MSc. Material Engineering (Nano-electronic device)

Email: makarimi@unikl.edu.my



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