Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE)

ABE (Autonomous Benthic Explorer) was developed by a team of engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. With a gross weight of 1500 lbs. and a maximum operating depth of 5,000 m, ABE has made approximately 80 dives to the deep seafloor. ABE particularly excels at near-bottom survey in rugged seafloor terrain. It has performed a variety of fully autonomous, precisely-navigated surveys, including fine-scale magnetic and bathymetric survey, photo mosaicking, and
quantitative survey of hydrothermal plumes. Typical dives last from 16-34 hours, depending on the instrument payload and the bottom terrain. Recent additions to ABE include a multibeam sonar (SM2000), which was used on a recent survey of the Explorer Ridge.

ABE often operates independent of the surface vessel, allowing the ship to perform other tasks beyond acoustic range of the vehicle. ABE has operated simultaneously with DSV Alvin, the DSL-120 sidescan, Seabeam and EM300 multibeam surveys, CTD casts, rock coring, and camera tows.

Any investigator who might be interested in using this vehicle for research should contact Al Bradley at (508) 289-2448, fax (508) 457-2195, or email: