The AUV ABYSS (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is designed for marine research. Its name refers to the so-called Abyssal plain, a part of the ocean floor between 2000 and 6000 meters. This depth range of the deep sea is the main working area of the AUV. It can map the ocean floor using various sonar systems and collect data of the water column by different sensors. The REMUS 6000 type AUV operates with lithium-ion batteries and is able to dive up to 22 hours. Missions have to be pre-programmed on board the research vessels. This torpedo-shaped system can handle several scientific objectives during a dive. The following probes and sensors are installed: 

• Conductivity, Temperature and Depth Probe (CTD)
• Particle Sensor
• Multi-Beam Echosounder 
• Sidescan Sonar
• Subbottom Profiler Sonar
• Electronic Still Camera 

The AUV can be operated from all large to medium-sized research vessels. The vehicle is deployed using a Launch and Recovery System (LARS) with a turnable system to allow an operation over the stern or the side. 

The AUV system was built in 2008 by Hydroid, LLC (USA).  A summary of the technical equipment of the AUV system can be downloaded here which serves as a reference for the deployments as well as the following scientific publications.

Information about the use of GEOMAR underwater vehicles & research equipment


Link to publications in OceanRep!

Petersen, S., Hannington, M., Krätschell, A., 2017. Technology developments in the exploration and evaluation of deep-sea mineral resources. Responsabilite and Environment 85, 14–18.

Escartín, J., Mevel, C., Petersen, S., Bonnemains, D., Cannat, M., Andreani, M., Augustin, N., Bezos, A., Chavagnac, V., Choi, Y., Godard, M., Haaga, K., Hamelin, C., Ildefonse, B., Jamieson, J., John, B., Leleu, T., MacLeod, C.J., Massot-Campos, M., Nomikou, P., Olive, J.A., Paquet, M., Rommevaux, C., Rothenbeck, M., Steinführer, A., Tominaga, M., Triebe, L., Campos, R., Gracias, N., García, R., 2017. Tectonic structure, evolution, and the nature of oceanic core complexes and their detachment fault zones (13°20′N and 13°30′N, Mid Atlantic Ridge). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 18, 1451–1482. doi:10.1002/2016GC006775

Escartín, J., Leclerc, F., Olive, J.-A., Mével, C., Cannat, M., Petersen, S., Augustin, N., Feuillet, N., Deplus, C., Bézos, A., Bonnemains, D., Chavagnac, V., Choi, Y., Godard, M., Haaga, K.A., Hamelin, C., Ildefonse, B., Jamieson, J.W., John, B.E., Leleu, T., MacLeod, C.J., Massot-Campos, M., Nomikou, P., Paquet, M., Rommevaux-Jestin, C., Rothenbeck, M., Steinführer, A., Tominaga, M., Triebe, L., Campos, R., Gracias, N., Garcia, R., Andreani, M., Vilaseca, G., 2016. First direct observation of coseismic slip and seafloor rupture along a submarine normal fault and implications for fault slip history. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 450, 96–107. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.06.024

Kwasnitschka, T., Köser, K., Sticklus, J., Rothenbeck, M., Weiß, T., Wenzlaff, E., Schoening, T., Triebe, L., Steinführer, A., Devey, C., Greinert, J., 2016. DeepSurveyCam - A Deep Ocean Optical Mapping System. In Sensors 2016, 16, 164; doi:10.3390/s16020164

Szitkar, F., Petersen, S., Caratori Tontini, F., Cocchi, L., 2015. High-resolution magnetics reveal the deep structure of a volcanic-arc-related basalt-hosted hydrothermal site (Palinuro, Tyrrhenian Sea). Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 16, 1950–1961. doi:10.1002/2015GC005769

Tippenhauer, S., Dengler, M., Fischer, T., Kanzow, T. (2015). Turbulence and finestructure in a deep ocean channel with sill overflow on the mid-Atlantic ridge. Deep Sea Research Part I, 99 (2015). pp. 10-22

Zeiger, V., Badri-Hoeher, S. (2014). A novel method for surface to subsea localization utilizing a modified hough transform. Proceedings of the Oceans Conference, 19.-19. September 2014, St. John's

Speckbacher, R., Behrmann, J. H., Nagel, T. J., Stipp, M., Mahlke, J. (2012), Fluid flow and metasomatic fault weakening in the Moresby Seamount detachment, Woodlark Basin, offshore Papua New Guinea. In: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Volume 13, Issue 11, 2012.

Speckbacher, R., Behrmann, J. H., Nagel, T. J., Stipp, M., Devey, C. W. (2011), Splitting a continent: Insights from submarine high-resolution mapping of the Moresby Seamount detachment, offshore Papua New Guinea, Geology, 39(7), 651-654

Dekov, V.M., Petersen, S., Garbe-Schönberg, C.D., Kamenov, G.D., Perner, M., Kuzmann, E., Schmidt, M., 2010. Fe–Si-oxyhydroxide deposits at a slow-spreading centre with thickened oceanic crust: The Lilliput hydrothermal field (9°33′S, Mid-Atlantic Ridge). Chemical Geology 278, 186–200. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.09.012

  • Scientific Head

    Dr. Peter Linke
    GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
    D-24148 Kiel
    Phone: +49 431 600-2115
    Fax: +49 431 600-1601
    E-mail: plinke(at)

    Technical Head

    Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Marcel Rothenbeck
    GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
    Wischhofstr. 1-3
    D-24148 Kiel
    Phone: +49 (0)431 600-1655
    Fax: +49 (0)431 600-1601
    E-mail: mrothenbeck(at)