Theme 4: Marine Technology and Polar Environments

Developing an innovative, next-generation, polar AUV to acquire high resolution data under sea ice and ice shelves; providing a near real time sea ice charting service to vessels operating in the East Antarctic; and conducting research to support sea ice forecasting.

Project 4.1 - Development and acquisition of a polar capable AUV

Ambitious in concept, this $7.5m project will build a world-leading, polar underwater vehicle not currently available anywhere in the world and that will be specifically designed to address the challenges of Antarctic waters, but applicable in any ice-covered environment.

The newly-developed platform will create a unique opportunity to collect data from the sea floor, and beneath ice shelves and sea ice, transiting and surveying across tens to hundreds of kilometres while still being capable of conducting complex operations with high fidelity communications, power and manipulation such as sediment coring. Its package of scientific sensors will be available for use on other under-ice platforms.

Currently, under-ice exploration is extremely limited with Australian-owned technology and the scale of this proposal is a major step forward. Using these technologies, scientists can develop the techniques to collect data at the relevant scales to help answer research questions through this and other projects.

Management and operation of the platform will include prior analysis of deployment and retrieval challenges from research vessels.

By allowing the scientific questions to drive the data collection, new platforms can be engineered that are application specific but adaptable enough to tackle future polar research.

Project 4.2 - Sea ice charting and forecasting

Development of a near real-time sea ice charting and forecasting capability for ice capable vessels using Hobart as a port and/or operating in the East Antarctic sea ice zone, including the development of an airborne sensor package for improved ice reconnaissance.

Integral to this will be research and experimentation with sea ice assimilation and coupling systems to underpin the development of a sea ice forecasting system.

Interested in working with this team? PhD Scholarships available now.

Professor Neil Bose discussing Theme 4

Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
June 8, 2016