Development of I-SPIDER: A towed platform for video survey and instrument placement

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Ocean Science and Engineering


The I-SPIDER or Integrated Scientific Platform for Instrument Deployment and Emergency Recovery, is a battery-powered camera and light platform tethered by a fiber optic cable to a surface support vessel. It was designed by the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute at the University of Mississippi with assistance from engineers at the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology. In addition to cameras and lights, the I-SPIDER is capable of integrating additional payloads over serial, ethernet, and fiber optic interfaces. It typically carries a scanning sonar that is used to navigate relative to seafloor equipment and bubble plumes. A tracking system with equipment mounted to the ship and I-SPIDER is used for absolute positioning. Along with the navigation sensors, a motorized release mechanism allows precise placement of instruments on the seafloor. The I-SPIDER has been utilized on several recent cruises; notable achievements are discussed in this paper. © 2013 MTS.

Publication Title

OCEANS 2013 MTS/IEEE - San Diego: An Ocean in Common