Deploying an AUV beneath the Sørsdal Ice Shelf: Recommendations from an expert-panel workshop
To support future scientific missions beneath Antarctic ice shelves, the Antarctic Gateway Partnership, a special research initiative of the Australian Research Council, is trialling its Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, nupiri muka, at the Sørsdal Glacier in East Antarctica. As history has shown, deploying an AUV beneath ice is both challenging and inherently risky. To support the planning and execution of this mission a panel of experts were invited to participate in a workshop to provide both peer-review of the readiness of the AUV and team, and, to establish a set of recommendations and best-practices to maximise the data return and minimise the risk. This panel consisted of those working in the area of AUVs, Polar operations, and those with relevant experience.Recommendations from this panel included strict definition of mission objectives, a risk analysis methodology, and plans for a dress rehearsal. In addition a staged approach was formulated to both validate the AUV performance and parametrise the environment to reduce uncertainty.