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A Hardware Proof of Concept for a Remote-Controlled Glacier-Surveying Boat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Mark Neal, Tom Blanchard, Alun Hubbard, Nolwen Chauche, C. Richard Bates, John Woodward

School/Research organisations


The design of a prototype remote-controlled glacier-surveying robot, capable of taking accurate above- and
below-water measurements of calving glacier fronts, using swath bathymetry and laser scanning hardware is
presented. Data captured using the remote control system during field trials on the Lille Gletscher in western
Greenland are informally compared with data captured using the same sensors from the same glacier using a
much larger manned vessel during the same time period. The potential use of such a device during extended
repeat survey missions is discussed and the implications in terms of both the improvement in data quality and
the logistics in the field are also outlined. Future improvements to the robot and in particular the control system
are described, as well as mechanical and electrical design considerations that became apparent during trials.
The transition to a more autonomous system and the possibility of full autonomy are considered.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-890
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Issue number6
Early online date1 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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