I would like to deploy an ROV that can return image data from underwater exploration. I am interested in creating a mothership with a set of child rovs. The mothership may be tethered and/or surface only. But the child rovs will be Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV).
Design Goals

  1. Low Cost ($250 ?)
  2. Real time video
  3. Shallow dives (10m ?)
  4. Light currents

Prior Art

There is a rich body of ROV design knowledge geared for hobbyists and students.
Open ROV
Mate ROV
Marine Tech
MIT itself has several labs
MIT Sea Grant

Swarm technology seems to be much more cutting edge. I did find some papers.
Several papers from Uwe Zimmer
Cool Prototypes from Serafina
Collective Cognitive Robots AUVs

Systems and Components

  1. Navigation
    1. Motors
    2. Controllers
    3. Localization (GPS, Compass)
  2. Sensors
    1. Lights
    2. Camera
    3. Accelerometers
    4. Temperature
  3. Communication
    1. Audio Modem
    2. Storage vs. Transmission

Open Questions

  1. Should the Mother Ship be submersible? Tethered?
  2. Who is carrying the lights?
  3. How are the lights powered?
  4. How small can the children be?
  5. How will they communicate? (Audio Modems?)
  6. Three motors on each child?
  7. How can this project be sized for success?