ROBIN (ROBot d'Inspection du Nautile)

The ROBIN is an unmanned vehicle which is deployed from the Nautile and designed to enhance the latter's observation capacities in areas which are inaccessible or hazardous for the manned submersible. It is remote-controlled from inside the Nautile via a 70 m umbilical. To ensure the safety of the manned submersible, this umbilical can be cut by two pyrotechnical cutters, should it become caught or tangled.

Fields of operation

  • Inspecting wrecks or hard-to-access areas


  • RMS Titanic


The ROBIN provides the following functional features:

  • Video camera shots (1 colour and 2 black and white)
  • Still photo shots


The ROBIN system includes:

  • The vehicle itself
  • The steering compartment equipment
  • A garage at the front of Nautile with a hydraulic winder for the umbilical
  • A power converter
  • A series of cables required to connect the various pieces of equipment

Technical specifications

  • Vehicle
    • dimensions: 0.60 m H x 0.70 m W x 0.65 m D
    • weight: 145 kg
    • maximal immersion: 5,000 m (extension to 6,000 m possible)
    • 1 CCD colour camera
    • 2 CCD B&W cameras at 45° angle upwards and downwards
    • lighting: 3 iodine flood lights 250 W
    • one 60-shot camera with 150 J flash
    • propulsion: 4 asynchronous thrusters (2 longitudinal, 1 transversal, 1 vertical)
    • sensors : course, pressure depth
    • safety: water, temperature, power supply, insulation, transmission
    • piloting: manual in longitudinal (speed 0.6 m/s) and transversal, manual or servo controlled in immersion or on course
  • Garage-winch
    • dimensions: 0,62 m H x 1,41 m W x 1,4 m D
    • weight: 120 kg
    • hydraulic winch, winding/unwinding speed 0.5 m/s
    • umbilical diameter 19 mm, length 70 m, neutral at 6000 m, including 2 coaxial cables and 4 power conductors
    • safety: 2 pyrotechnic cutters on umbilical
  • Piloting post (inside the Nautile)
    • control panel for propulsion, lighting and photography
    • central control post transmissions and video
    • transmissions and video control room
    • 2 TV screens (1 colour, 1 B&W)
    • 1 video recorder
  • Power supply
    • 1 converter 220 V DC / 600 V 400 Hz
    • maximal power: 2 500 W
    • input range : 200 à 270 V
    • safety controls: overload, temperature, insulation, undervoltage

Shipboard installation

The ROBIN is specially designed to be used aboard the Nautile. Adapting it to other systems would require special developments.


The ROBIN system is operated and maintained by GENAVIR (ocean research vessel management group).

The main industrial partners involved in developing the system are:

  • INTERSUB for the vehicle's construction and the winch
  • HYTEC for the control and transmission eletronics and video
  • MULLER for making the umbilical
  • DEGREANE for the power converters