Development of Nereid-UI: A Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle for Oceanographic Access Under Ice


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and collaborators from the Johns Hopkins University and the University of New Hampshire are developing a remotely-controlled underwater robotic vehicle to provide the Polar Research Community with a capability to be tele-operated under ice under direct real-time human supervision. The Nereid Under-Ice (Nereid-UI) vehicle, Figure 1, will enable exploration and detailed examination of biological and physical environments at glacial ice-tongues and ice-shelf margins through the use of HD video in addition to acoustic, chemical, and biological sensors, Table 1. We anticipate propulsion system optimization that will enable us to attain distances up to 20 km from an ice-edge boundary, as dictated by the current maximum tether length. The goal of the Nereid-UI system is to provide scientific access to under-ice and ice-margin environments that is presently impractical or infeasible. The project design phase is underway, with incremental field testing planned in 2014. We welcome input from the Polar Science Community on how best to serve your scientific objectives. The Nereid-UI vehicle will employ technology developed during the Nereus HROV project including lightweight expendable tethers and tolerance of communications failures. Performance goals include: 1. Extreme horizontal and vertical mobility - access to under-ice crevasses and glacier grounding- lines, close inspection and mapping. 2. Real-time exploration under direct human control. 3. Response to features of interest by altering sensing modality and trajectory as desired 4. Access to the calving front 5. Access to the under-ice boundary layer 6. Future manipulation, sample retrieval, and instrument emplacement capability Supported by NSF OPP under ANT-1126311, James Family Foundation, George Frederick Jewett Foundation East, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Fig. 1: Nereid-UI Concept of Operations. Table 1: Nereid-UI Specifications

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Conference Date

Dec 3 - Dec 7, 2012

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, United States


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding