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Technical Overview

The Nereid Under-Ice (NUI) vehicle enables exploration, detailed examination, and sampling of biological and physical ice-margin and under-ice environments through the use of high-definition video and a 7-function electro-hydraulic manipulator arm, in addition to a range of acoustic, chemical, and biological sensors tailored to suit the needs of an individual expedition. The goal of the NUI system is to provide scientific access to under-ice and ice-margin environments that is presently impractical or infeasible.

In July 2014, NUI successfully completed it's first under-ice field expedition from aboard the Alfred Wegener Institute's ice-breaker Polarstern.   In addition to conducting engineering trials, the vehicle was equipped with various biological sensors for studying near-ice primary productivity (a comprehensive pumped fluorometry system (SUNA nitrate, Eco Triplet FL/BB/CDOM, SBE25+ CTD, FRRF, PAR), hyperspectral radiance and irradiance sensors (RAMSES ACC, ARC), upward-looking still camera and and Imagenex DT100 multibeam, in addition to a Wetlabs Eco doublet Chl/NTU and SBE49 FastCAT CTD, and upward and downward looking RDI 300 kHz ADCP/DVLs.  Additional information about the expedition can be found here:  The full cruise report can be downloaded here:

We continue to improve NUI's capabilities.  Integration of a 7-function electro-hydraulic manipulator arm is underday with completion scheduled for March 2016.  This addition will fully realize the potential of long-range tele-presence that the NUI system affords.  More information on the integration effort is available in the slide show on the lower right-hand side of this page.

We welcome input from the Polar Science Community on how best to serve your scientific objectives.

Contact: Michael Jakuba,


  • Real-time exploration under direct human control far from influence of host ice breaker
  • HD video and real-time visualization of mapping and survey data products
  • Respond to features of interest by altering sensing modality and trajectory as desired
  • Vertical mobility – access to pressure-ridges, melt-pools, crevasses, general close inspection and mapping.
  • Land against underside of ice or on seafloor
  • Precision access to under-ice boundary layer
  • Access beneath glacial ice tongues and shelves
  • Manipulation, sample retrieval, and instrument emplacement capability (Mar. 2016)
A rendering of NUI working on the ice underside.  Manipulator integration is underway with an expected completion date of March 2016.
A screen-grab of video taken with Nereid Under Ice during sea trials in August 2014 showing algae patches on the keel of sea ice. (Courtesy of the Deep Submergence Lab, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)