Development of the ROV SCINI and deployment in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

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Cazenave, F., Zook, R., Carroll, D., Flagg, M., & Kim, S. (2011). Development of the ROV SCINI and deployment in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Journal of Ocean Technology, 6(3), 39-58.
TitleDevelopment of the ROV SCINI and deployment in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
AuthorsF. Cazenave, R. Zook, D. Carroll, M. Flagg, S. Kim
AbstractRemotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are powerful tools whose use has become common in many aquatic systems, for many purposes, from commercial to research applications. Polar regions, because of ice cover and harsh conditions, remain difficult locations for ROV work. This paper outlines the development of an ROV designed to facilitate exploration and scientific research under sea ice, giving easier access to largely unexplored regions of the seafloor. The ROV SCINI (Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging) was developed at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and deployed in Antarctica for four field seasons, from 2007 to 2011. Ice provides a convenient deployment platform but commercially available ROVs require a large hole in the ice and much logistic support, which restricts their use in polar regions. Unlike other ROVs, SCINI has a slender torpedo shape (length: 1.4 m, diameter: 15 cm), which allows it to be deployed through a 20 cm hole in the ice. This small hole can be drilled by two people, using a handheld drill. The entire SCINI system and personnel (three or more persons) can fit in one helicopter, thus giving easy and quick access to remote sites. SCINI is a modular vehicle that can easily be modified or serviced in the field. It is also rugged and designed for harsh polar conditions. SCINI is equipped with two video cameras, scaling lasers, and lights. Its maximum depth capability is 300 m. A long baseline acoustic positioning system is used for navigation. SCINI is a highly manoeuvrable vehicle, better suited for flying transects over the seafloor than most ROVs. Engineering tests and scientific surveys were based out of McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and carried out at various sites within a 100 km radius. Knowledge gained from these deployments led to numerous modifications and improvements to the vehicle. This paper provides details on the vehicle's most recent configuration, including mechanical design, electrical design, software, and navigation system. Deployment methods, vehicle behaviour, and results of field testing are described. Four scientific surveys are also briefly described as examples. Copyright Journal of Ocean Technology 2011.
JournalJournal of Ocean Technology
Start page39
End page58
NoteCited By (since 1996):3, Oceanography