"Alvin is functionally a new vehicle," said Harvard University scientist Peter Girguis of the retrofitted sub. The $42 million upgrades include automatic command and control functions, a higher battery capacity, high-definition cameras, and a new forward lateral thruster.
"I think the new command-and-control systems make it easier for pilots to manage the sub, so they can participate more in the dive, rather than just drive," said Susan Humphris, the WHOI scientist who supervised the upgrade. "The biggest advantage of the lateral thruster is that it enables Alvin to move sideways like a crab, saving valuable time in the sub. In the past, pilots had to back up and then go forward to move laterally."
Check out the slide show at the link below on the WHOI website and see what other treasures Alvin has found for us.