Nereid UI: A Light-Tethered Remotely Operated Vehicle for Under-Ice Telepresence

Bowen, A.D. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) | Jakuba, M.V. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) | Yoerger, D.R. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) | Whitcomb, L.L. (Johns Hopkins University) | Kinsey, J.C. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) | Mayer, L. (University of New Hampshire) | German, C.R. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


We describe a new underwater vehicle for under-ice telepresence, NereidUI (Under Ice). This paper discusses potential applications,environmental and logistical constraints, and progress to date. Based on lightdata-­only fiber tether technology, Nereid UI will provide operatorswith a capability to teleoperate a ~1000 kg remotely operated vehicle (ROV)under fixed ice at ranges up to 20 km distant from a support ship or otherdeployment site under direct human supervision.  When operating from anice­bound support vessel, the light ­fiber technology permits the vehicle toremain stationary on the seafloor or maneuver freely in the water­ column orunder the ice while its support ship drifts with the sea ­ice up to 20 kmaway.  Nereid UI will facilitate its recovery autonomously in theevent that the tether is severed. Prior experience with the hybrid ROVNereus 11,000 m rated vehicle, along with trade studies and conceptdevelopment devoted to Nereid UI has revealed (1) the light­ fiberconcept is viable in polar waters; (2) battery ­operation and the need totransit result in an ROV that occupies a unique trade-space with respect todrag; (3) redundant systems and a focus on reliability are necessary to avoidexpensive losses in productivity or the vehicle itself.  The Nereid UIproject is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Woods HoleOceanographic Institution.