Running the Pioneer under ice

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 / Jonsvatnet, Trondheim, Norway

NTNU Applied Underwater Robotics Laboratory (AUR-Lab) plans to run their AUV REMUS under the sea ice on Svalbard for technical trials and biological data sampling later this spring. AUVs are autonomous and untethered preprogrammed underwater vehicles made to measure seawater variables and map the seabed.

Running AUVs under ice requires the vehicle not to attempt to surface, and to return to a hole in the ice for recovery. Before going to Svalbard, NTNU was testing the AUV under ice systems, and the Blueye Pioner was supporting the tests providing an eye under the ice.

Using a chain saw, a three by three meter hole was cut in the ice. A cage was then placed in the hole to catch the AUV for recovery after the mission. The AUV is equipped with sensors to measure, salinity, temperature, oxygen, chlorophyll, disolved organic matter, side scan sonar and a multibeam echosounder for measuring ice-thickness.

To assist during the tests, the Blueye Pioneer underwater drone provided a valuable view under the ice. The first under ice deployment for the Blueye Pioneer was successful, the vehicle operated great in the cold water. Both in terms of thrust power, battery performance and robustness the Pioneer did a great job.

The team from AUR-Lab expects more challenging conditions on Svalbard at latitude 78-N in the last week of April. Working in the Arctic, low logistics solutions like the Pioneer simplifies underwater and under ice operation.

Voyage Destination

Jonsvatnet, Trondheim, Norway