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This 1982 report about SCARAB – Submersible Crafts Assisting Repair and Burial – gives a detailed study and explanation of the submarine-robots developed at the Bell Labs Holmdel Center in the late 1970s.

Originally conceived as Bell’s version of the Navy’s CURV crafts, the series of remotely operated submersible vehicles designed to recover debris and artifacts in deep water, SCARAB was designed to attend to underwater cables that had been damaged. Designed to withstand water pressure at 6,700 feet SCARAB was a busy little craft in the 1980s.

Tethered by a 10,000-foot long control cable, the submersible could only go within that range, unlike later remote submarines using wireless connections. This film includes a lengthy interview with Project Manager G.A. Reinold, Supervisor of the Undersea Design Group at Holmdel, where SCARAB was developed.

Among the craft’s specs, it weighed 6,300 pounds and had a 35 horsepower motor, with six electric thrusters, two TV cameras and one 35mm film still camera. The craft required three people to monitor and control it during operations.

Another view of the submarine-robot was this video previously posted here on the Tech Channel.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ


Release date: 05/26/2015





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