Science & Tech

ROV Little Hercules

ROV Little Hercules
Ocean Exploration Trust

The ROV Little Hercules is a smaller sister to Hercules, designed to function similarly, with Argus or Atalanta but with a focus on gathering high-quality video imagery. Little Hercules is equipped with a high-definition or 4k video camera, LED lights, and basic sensors for navigation and situational awareness.  Little Hercules was originally built in 2000, and was extensively refurbished and upgraded to 6000 meter capability in 2019.

Science & Tech

Ocean exploration is a dynamic balance of understanding science and using the best in underwater technology.


Get a sneak peek of where we're headed next or revisit the discoveries of our past expeditions.

Classroom Resources

OET hosts a suite of free educational materials for use in classrooms, at home, or in the community.

ROV Little Hercules At-a-Glance


  •  6,000 meters (19,685 feet)
  •  30–45 meters (98.4–147.6 feet), 20 millimeters (0.79 inches) diameter, neutrally buoyant
  •  1.4 meters long × 1.0 meters wide × 1.2 meters tall
  •  400 kilograms (900 pounds) in air.  100 lbs payload
  •  2 knots
  •  20–30 meters/minute, (65–98 feet/minute) max
  •  Four Tecnadyne Model 1020 thrusters for heading control

Imaging & Lighting

    • High definition or Ultra High Definition
    • Two mini utility cameras (fixed mounted) 480 line NTSC format
    • Four Deepsea Power and Light LED Spherelights

Vehicle Sensors & Navigation

  •  Lord Microstrain 3DM-GX5-25 Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS)
  •  Paroscientific Digiquartz 8CB series
  •  Valeport VA500 500Khz Altimeter 
  •  Kongsberg Mesotech 1071 scanning sonar, 675 kHz, 1–200 meter (3–656 feet) range typical

Scientific Instrument Support

  •  110 V 60 Hz AC, 24 VDC and 12 VDC power options
  •   RS-232 serial, Ethernet: 10/100/1,000 mbps links available

Remotely Operated Vehicle Positioning

The ROV systems are outfitted with an ultrashort baseline (USBL) navigation system compatible with the operational platform and scientific requirements. 

  •  Sonardyne Ranger II  or TrackLink 5000