Subsea Expo

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IXSEA: Phins Reaches Ultimate Depth

02 July 2009

IXSEA's PHINS INS made history onboard Nereus, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's deep sea robotic vehicle, which reached depths of 10,902 m in the Marianas Trench in the Western Pacific Ocean on 31 May. This makes Nereus the world's deepest diving vehicle.

PHINS Inertial Navigation System outputs position, heading, roll, pitch, depth, velocity, and heave. Its high accuracy inertial measurement unit is based on IXSEA's Fiber Optic Gyroscope (FOG) technology coupled with an embedded digital signal processor that runs an advanced Kalman filter. PHINS is used as a primary navigation system on Nereus and other WHOI vehicles such as Sentry AUV and Alvin DSV. PHINS is well suited to Nereus' long endurance missions to the bottom of the earth's oceans due to its low power draw which saves critical battery energy. Moreover PHINS accepts multiple aiding sensors which are part of the complete suite of tools used in the navigation of AUVs, these include: DVLs, Pressure Sensors, USBL and LBL acoustic positioning, and CTDs.

The Marianas Trench is the deepest known part of the world's oceans and reaches more than a mile further into the depths of the ocean than Everest reaches the sky. This is only the third vehicle to have reached the trench, and the first since 1998. With the successful completion of the Nereus dive to the deepest part of the ocean and unprecedented maneuverability, scientists now have the means to efficiently collect detailed data, images and samples from these unknown depths which will lead to a greater understanding of our oceans and planet.