The Deep Submergence Laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution along with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and the University of New Hampshire, and supported primarily by a grant from the National Science Foundation, has developed a robotic underwater vehicle that provides the Polar Research Community with a capability to tele-operate, under direct real-time human supervision, a remotely-controlled inspection and survey vehicle, under ice, and unconstrained by the motions of a support vessel. The Nereid Under-Ice (NUI) vehicle enables exploration and detailed examination of biological and physical ice-margin and under-ice environments through the use of high-definition video in addition to a range of acoustic, chemical, and biological sensors tailored to suit the needs of an individual expedition. The goal of the NUI system is to provide scientific access to under-ice and ice-margin environments that is presently impractical or infeasible.
In July 2014, NUI successfully completed it's first under-ice field expedition from aboard the Alfred Wegener Institute's ice-breaker Polarstern. In addition to conducting engineering trials, the vehicle was equipped with various biological sensors for studying near-ice primary productivity (a comprehensive pumped fluorometry system (SUNA nitrate, Eco Triplet FL/BB/CDOM, SBE25+ CTD, FRRF, PAR), hyperspectral radiance and irradiance sensors (RAMSES ACC, ARC), upward-looking still camera and and Imagenex DT100 multibeam, in addition to a Wetlabs Eco doublet Chl/NTU and SBE49 FastCAT CTD, and upward and downward looking RDI 300 kHz ADCP/DVLs.
▪ Real-time exploration under direct human control far from influence of host ice breaker
▪ HD video and real-time visualization of mapping and survey data products
▪ Respond to features of interest by altering sensing modality and trajectory as desired
▪ Vertical mobility – access to pressure-ridges, melt-pools, crevasses, general close inspection and mapping.
▪ Land against underside of ice or on seafloor
▪ Precision access to under-ice boundary layer
▪ Access beneath glacial ice tongues and shelves
▪ Future manipulation, sample retrieval, and instrument emplacement capability