EurEx - Persistent under-ice navigation

EurEx - Persistent under-ice navigation

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One important aspect of future missions to ice-covered moons within our solar system is the exploration of the oceans underneath the ice. Based on the exploration concept developed in the Europa-Explorer project, the aim of the EurEx-LUNa project is to further evolve the under-ice navigation and exploration capabilities of an autonomous system and subsequently evaluate them in an analog mission.

In order to allow for persistent exploration in challenging and difficult to access environments, both the software and the hardware of an autonomous underwater vehicle must be thoroughly tested and continuously improved. An essential part is the safe return of the underwater vehicle and to successfully attach to the docking interface, allowing data and energy exchange.

To evaluate the capabilities and robustness of the overall system an analog mission will be carried out in an ice-covered lake.

In March 2002 a successful field test was carried out in Abisko, Sweden. The AUV was active for more than 50 hours in the frozen lake, into which it could be introduced through a hole in the 90cm thick layer of ice previously cut by the local Abisko Scientific Research Station (ANS). During the field tests, the ability of the AUV to find its way back to the ice hole at the end of a mission and dock at the docking station fully autonomously could be demonstrated.


BMWi - Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy



BMWi - Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy


Schematic overview of a possible mission scenario. 0) ice-drill penetrated the ice-shield. 1) AUV has been released from the payload compartment. 2) AUV descends to ocean floor. 3) exploration using cameras/sonar and internal sensors. 4) ascend to the ice

The AUV DeepLeng just before being watered

The AUV DeepLeng on the crane


Publications about the project

Tom Creutz; Bilal Wehbe; Sascha Arnold; Marc Hildebrandt

In: Proceedings of Oceans 2023. OCEANS MTS/IEEE Conference (OCEANS-2023), June 5-8, Limerick, Ireland, IEEE, 2023.

To the publication

Marc Hildebrandt; Tom Creutz; Bilal Wehbe; Marius Wirtz; Michael Zipper

In: OCEANS 2022 - Hampton Roads. OCEANS MTS/IEEE Conference (OCEANS-2022), October 17-20, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, IEEE, 2022.

To the publication

Sascha Arnold; Bilal Wehbe

In: 2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) (Hrsg.). 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA-2022), IEEE, 2022.

To the publication

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz