An Ice Strengthened Autonomous Surface Vessel for Surveying Marine-Terminating Calving Glaciers

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-111
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Ocean Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2015
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This paper describes a custom designed electrically powered, fully autonomous 2.73 metre long boat for survey and mapping tasks in locations unsuitable for larger, manned craft. This work was originally inspired by the desire to survey marine terminating calving glaciers in Greenland. The hull has been designed with a bump along the bottom to mount sonar transducers, to push away ice, and to achieve a top speed of around 4 knots. An autonomous control system has been implemented to allow for tele-operation, drive-by-wire, and fully autonomous modes with telemetry data relayed via a radio data link. To extend battery lifetime, a biologically inspired algorithm based on the mammalian endocrine system has been used. Several survey missions have been carried out successfully where the design has proved to be a suitable and low cost
platform for survey and ocean mapping work.


  • Robot, Autonomous surface craft, Glacial survey, Biologically inspired power management, Artificial endocrine system