The autonomous benthic crawler NOMAD is an advancement to the TRAMPER system. NOMAD is larger than TRAMPER and carries a four-times heavier scientific payload, although both systems share the same total weight. This enhancement is achieved by a light-weight re-design of the drives and the load carrying structure. TRAMPER has a titanium frame and rubber excavator tracks, while NOMAD is built from fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) as an integral construction, i.e. the batteries and releaser housings are part of the load carrying structure. Wherever strength allows, titanium (density: 4.5 kg/L) is replaced by FRP (density: 2.0 kg/L) and FRP by polyethylen (density: 0.96 kg/L).

In addition to the oxygen microprofiler that is also on board TRAMPER, NOMAD carries two respiration chambers, a hyperspectral camera and a 3D topology scanner. While proceeding to the next measurement site, NOMAD scans a 0.6 m broad strip of sediment in regard to surface structure and chlorophyll content (indicating concentrations of phytodetritial matter at the seafloor). On a suitable spot, it starts to measure an oxygen profile and lowers the two incubation chambers on the sediment to determine respiration rates by sediment-inhabiting organisms.


  • Specifications

Dimensions: 2.26 m (L), 1.88 m (B), 1.61 m (H)

Total weight in air: 648 kg (Volume 592 L)

Weight incl. ballast in water: 40 kg @35 psu/20°C/0 m

Uplift without drop-weight: 33,5 kg @35 psu

Ascend speed: 0,42 m/s (25 m/min.)

Max. Driving-Speed: 13 m/min.

Energy supply: 32,4 V 11,4 kWh, 2x 9S19p Li-SOCl2 primary cells LSH20

Depth Rating: max. 6000 m


  • Navigation and Recovery

Acoustic Transponder: IXBLUE Oceano RT 2500S

ROV Homer-Beacon: Sonardyne Type 7835

Argos Satellite Beacon: Xeos XMA-11K

VHF Radio Beacon: Xeos XMB-11K


  • Scientific Payload

Profiler with 18 Oxygen Optodes PyroScience OSB430 with Piccolo OEM Modules

2 Respiration Chambers with each 2 OSB430 Oxygen Optodes, Zero-Point Calibration, Sediment Detection and Chamber Scrubber (Reference Optode: Aanderaa 4330)

3D Laser Camera: Kraken SeaVision

Full-Frame Hyperpectral Camera: Cubert Q285

Halogen-Light DeepSea Power & Light MultiSeaLite DML1095

DSLR Camera Nikon D300S

LED-Light DeepSea Power & Light Sphere 3150

Modular Control Electronics: MPI-Bus



Contact: J. Lemburg, M. Hofbauer, F. Wenzhöfer



A sketch of the vehicle could be found here