The Remotely Operated Vehicle, so called “ROV” which has crawler based moving system is considered as one of the appropriate underwater vehicles for seafloor exploration or seabed resources development [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]. The advantages of crawler driven ROV are to be able to stay on a fixed sea bottom location and to be capable to do heavy works such as digging the seafloor. However, the ROV moving on the sea bottom with crawler based driving system easily turn over due to the buoyancy and hydrodynamic forces [8][9][10][11][12]. Therefore, it is important to know the moving capability of the ROV on the sea bottom for the design point of view. The authors have shown the condition for the normal running of the ROV which moves on horizontal and inclined flat sea bottom by means of a simple dynamic model [11]. Normal running means that the ROV runs without bow-up or stern-up situations and the crawlers touch the ground normally. The normal running condition of ROV indicates the constrained condition of the relation between gravity and buoyancy center locations for any given design parameters such as geometry, weight, displacement and running speed of the ROV. Though this method estimates the ROVs’ moving capability with acceptable accuracy, the hydrodynamic forces on the ROV and its application point are required for accurate estimation. In the previous research, those quantities are roughly estimated from the past experimental investigations. The present study investigated the flow around the crawler driven ROV which runs on seafloor with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis to evaluate the characteristics of hydrodynamic forces acting on the ROV. The open source CFD code, OpenFOAM [13] was applied for flow calculation and the results were validated with model experiments. By using the calculated hydrodynamic forces on ROV, the moving capability of ROV was evaluated with a method the authors had shown. The estimates of the running capability of the ROV by using the CFD calculations are quite different from past estimations in some running conditions.

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