Innovation gives the eyes underwater

Published Wednesday, 03 February, 2021 at 11:30 AM

Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey

A remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) has been specially developed to enhance knowledge of the Gold Coast’s underwater environments and improve waterways management.

The new Rangerbot named Nyah will be used by the Palaszczuk Government’s Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) to do a range of jobs including marine habitat surveys, seabed sediment sampling, maintenance checks on navigation aids and to help search for, and retrieve, objects from the water.

Nyah is the Yugambeh word for ‘look see.’ The name was given to GCWA’s newest team member by a Gold Coast Year 3 student who won a recent competition to name the robot.

Launching Nyah today, Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said the Rangerbot would add another dimension to the management and research skills of the GCWA team.

‘The Palaszczuk Government is investing more than $34 million to upgrade and maintain our waterways on the Gold Coast and also support close to 100 jobs as part of Queensland’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan,’ Mr Bailey said.

‘Nyah gives the Gold Coast Waterways Authority the ability to do a deeper dive under the water and improve its understanding of what’s going on there, whether it’s broadening our understanding of marine life or checking for potential marine hazards.

‘Nyah will provide access to real-time information needed to effectively manage an asset which has a natural capital value of $26 billion and supports thousands of jobs in the marine, tourism and recreation industries.

‘As a bonus, this is technology which has been developed locally by the Queensland University of Technology and adapted for use in Gold Coast waters.’

Rangerbot Nyah comes equipped with multiple cameras enabling it to look above, behind, below and in front of itself, acoustic sensors to help with navigation and a special gripping arm for retrieving objects and scientific samples.

GCWA Chair, Mara Bún, said Rangerbot Nyah would enhance GCWA’s planning and scientific research capabilities.

‘Nyah will enable us to collect data to help us better understand the underwater environment and the impact factors such as climate change are having on marine environments, marine infrastructure and habitats.

‘It’ll also improve the efficiency and safety of our operations in, and under, the water.

‘In the past, we’ve had to engage specialist contractors to check damaged buoy moorings or navigation aids or to retrieve submerged objectives.

‘With Nyah on board, our Waterways team can quickly launch it and see what’s going on underwater in real time. They can use that information to help identify the problem more quickly and safely, allowing us to implement a solution faster.’

Rangerbot Nyah may also be called upon by other agencies such as the Gold Coast water police and Maritime Safety Queensland to help with retrieval and rescue missions.

Rangerbot Nyah technical specifications:

  • 330-degree field of view to inspect below, above, behind or in front of the underwater ROV
  • forward speed of 5 knots, with depth ratings of 50m
  • ideal for underwater inspections in tough environments
  • flexible use as can provide GPS estimate of position for survey data and
  • ability to add monitoring equipment.


Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078