The Helmsley Charitable Trust Mediterranean Sea Research Center

Our Marine Platforms

  1.  A medium size (0.5m in diameter, 6m in length) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), rated to 3000m depth, equipped with synthetic-aperture-sonar (SAS), camera stereo-pair, sub-bottom profiler, obstacle avoidance system and a dedicated section allowing the testing of own developed subsea mechanism and sensors, hardware and integrated software (expected 10/2016).

    AUV image
  2.  A work class Remotely-Operated-Vehicle (ROV), capable of operating to 2000m depth, equipped with 11 powerful electric thrusters for outstanding maneuverability, a Schilling Orion 7P manipulator, cameras, survey sonars and a dedicated scientific skid allowing the installation and testing of additional sensors and the collection and storage of samples. ROV image
  3. A hovering AUV for visual surveys, rated to 200m, including a dedicated section allowing the installation and integration of own developed mechanisms and sensors. (expected 12/2016)
  4. A remote controlled Jet Ski, allowing testing of behavior in seaway, autonomy algorithms and dedicated hardware.  (expected 12/2016)

Our Research Facility

THEMO observatory - The University of Haifa and Texas A&M University have established an oceanographic observatory, termed “Texas A&M – University of Haifa Eastern Mediterranean Observatory” (“THEMO”). The observatory comprises of two sensor arrays attached to 2.25m diameter surface buoys. THEMO will include a shallow mooring (125m) in the coastal zone and a deeper one 60 km offshore in the Levant Basin of the Mediterranean Sea. The deeper mooring (1425m) will be equipped with a profiler which will communicate to a subsea float and from there to a surface buoy. This array will also have a time-series sediment trap at 1000m. Both arrays will have acoustic capabilities, standard sensor and inductively-coupled thermistor chains. The data will be received at a shore station through a fast two-way communication link, and will be displayed on 8 large tiled screens at Haifa. Deployment of the shallow mooring is expected on 10/2016 and that of the deep mooring is expected on 10/2017.

  • Salt water test pool – allowing experiments with mechanisms and sensors and pre dive testing of the underwater vehicles. The pool is 9m in length, 3m wide and 2.5m deep.  
  •  Pressure chamber for 3000msw. The chamber internal dimensions are 0.4m in diameter and 1.5m in length. The testing medium is potable water. Pressure is recorded by a dedicated logging data acquisition system.Pressure Chamber Image


Our Research Labs

The Subsea Engineering lab, headed by Prof. Morel Groper. Focuses on new concept submersibles, propulsion and maneuvering for underwater vehicles including the development of trajectory simulations and unique underwater directional thrusters, novel oil compensated actuators for deep-sea operation, pressure vessels and sealing methods.  Some of the current research topics include: motion of planning crafts in seaway, dynamic modeling of hovering AUVs, deep sea propulsion components and pressure vessels.  In the lab we perform also research in tribology where the lubricant is sea water.


The Marine Imaging lab, headed by Dr. Tali Treibitz. Focuses on cutting edge research in underwater computer vision, scene, color and 3D reconstruction, automatic analysis of scenes, and autonomous decision making based on visual input. In addition we design and build novel underwater imaging systems, such as underwater microscopes.

tali lab

The Applied Marine Exploration lab, headed by Dr. Yizhaq Makovsky. Focuses on innovative use of observational geophysics to address geological and environmental questions. Main research interests include the study of traditional and alternative marine energy sources, and the geotechnical and environmental aspects of exploiting them. In particular, gas hydrates, their potential exploitation and response to global changes; Morphology and recent evolution of the seafloor as an indicator of: recent paleo-environmental and tectonic processes; Active processes of the geosphere: Paleoseismology and mechanism of faulting; the role of free fluids in the Earth’s crust; Innovative techniques for monitoring environmental changes (e.g. coral reef bleaching, marine biomass, pollutants accumulation, soil water interaction, etc.).

The Underwater Acoustics and Navigation lab (ANL)
, headed by Dr. Roee Diamant, , is active in the fields of underwater acoustic communication networks, underwater signal detection, object classification, underwater localization, and underwater navigation. Our research interests include channel modeling, design of algorithms and protocols, analysis, and development of simulation tools. We focus on applied research and develop tools for problems like underwater mine detection, navigation without GPS, communication between divers and autonomous vehicles, classification and characterisation of marine mammals and fish, tracking the motion of marine animals, and long range acoustic communication. The facilities in the lab include equipment for sea experiments, a large acoustic chamber, and a direct access to perform measurements from the lab in a testing pool and in the Shikmona reef.

Roee Lab Picture



© 2017 Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences. All Rights Reserved.

Web Analytics