An overview of the mechanical features of human occupied vehicles


  • Bhaskaran Pranesh Deep Sea Technologies, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai 600100, India
  • Shanmugam Karthikeyan Deep Sea Technologies, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai 600100, India
  • Dharmaraj Sathianarayanan Deep Sea Technologies, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai 600100, India
  • Manickavasagam Palaniappan Deep Sea Technologies, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai 600100, India
  • Gidugu Ananda Ramadass Deep Sea Technologies, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai 600100, India



Human occupied vehicle, Alvin, Jiaolong, MIR-1/MIR-2, Nautile, Shinkai 6500, Deep sea challenger, Fendouzhe, Triton


Scientists are using human occupied vehicles to explore underwater environments. There are several mechanical features used in the design of human occupied vehicles. These mechanical features are primarily based on environmental factors such as high external pressure, low temperature, and corrosion resistance. In this paper, human occupied vehicles rated for 6,000 m depth are studied, including Alvin, Jiaolong, MIR-1/MIR-2, Nautile, and Shinkai 6500, as well as vehicles rated at 11,000 m depth, like Deep Sea Challenger, Fendouzhe, and Triton. As a review, this paper examines various mechanical systems in human occupied vehicles, such as the pressure hull, hatch, ballast system, trim system, exo-structure, and syntactic foam.


  • Features of various human occupied vehicles up to 11,000 m of sea water
  • Comparison of spherical pressure hull, hatch and viewports
  • Various ballast systems adapted in different human occupied vehicle
  • Size and shape of the pressure casings / enclosures
  • Drop weight mechanism used in different human occupied vehicles


Agarwala, N. (2022). Integrating UUVs for naval applications. Maritime Technology and Research, 4(3), 254470.

Agarwala, N. (2023). Using robotics to achieve ocean sustainability during the exploration phase of deep seabed mining. Marine Technology Society Journal, 57(1), 130-150.

Allmendinger, E. E. (1990). Submersible vehicle systems design. vol. 96. SNAME, Jersey City.

ASME PVHO-1. (2007). Safety standard for pressure vessels for human occupancy (pp. 105-111). American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York.

Bernstein, H. (1967). Pressure hulls for deep-submergence vehicles. Journal of Hydronautics, 1(1), 22-26.

Binbin, P., & Weicheng, C. (2011). On an appropriate design and test standard for spherical pressure hull in a deep manned submersible (pp. 1-7). In Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE Symposium on Underwater Technology and Workshop on Scientific Use of Submarine Cables and Related Technologies. IEEE.

Busby, R. F. (1976). Manned submersibles. Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy.

Carvalho Jr, J. A., & Bastos-Netto, D. (1989). A study on thin walled intersecting spheres. Acta Astronautica, 19(12), 981-985.

Cui, W. (2013). Development of the Jiaolong deep manned submersible. Marine Technology Society Journal, 47(3), 37-54.

Cui, W., Hu, Y., Guo, W., Pan, B., & Wang, F. (2014). A preliminary design of a movable laboratory for hadal trenches. Methods in Oceanography, 9, 1-16.

Deep Sea Challenger. (2012). HOV Deepsea Challenger. Retrieved from

Deep Sea Challenger. (2014). Technology of the Deepsea Challenge Expedition. Retrieved from

Defa, W., Yinshui, L., Jinyue, C., Zhuo, J., & Tao, J. (2011). Research on the pump of seawater hydraulic variable ballast system in submersible (pp. 429-434). In Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on Fluid Power and Mechatronics. IEEE.

Drogou, J. F., Lévêque, C., Rigaud, V., Justiniano, J. P., & Rosazza, F. (2013). NAUTILE-Feedbacks on 25 years of operations 1850 dives. In Proceedings of the Underwater Intervention Conference, New Orleans, USA.

Grandvaux, B. (1986). Recent and future developments in undersea survey and intervention (pp. 97-118). Submersible Technology, Springer, Dordrecht.

Hardy, K., Cameron, J., Herbst, L., Bulman, T., & Pausch, S. (2013). Hadal landers: The Deepsea Challenge Ocean trench free vehicles (pp. 1-10). In Proceedings of the 2013 OCEANS-San Diego. IEEE.

Hardy, K., Sutphen, B., & Cameron, J. (2014). Technology of the Deepsea Challenge expedition (Part 1 of 2: The Landers). Ocean News and Technology.

Hu, Z., & Cao, J. (2020). Development and application of manned deep diving technology. Strategic Study of Chinese Academy of Engineering, 21(6), 87-94.

Iwai, Y., Nakanishi, T., & Takahashi, K. (1990). Sea trials and supporting technologies of manned submersible Shinkai 6500. In Proceedings of the Intervention Sous-Marine ISM 90, Toulon, France.

Jamieson, A. J., Ramsey, J., & Lahey, P. (2019). Hadal manned submersible. Sea Technology, 60(9), 22-24.

Kohnen, W. (2013). Review of deep ocean manned submersible activity in 2013. Marine Technology Society Journal, 47(5), 56-68.

Komuku, T., Matsumoto, K., Imai, Y., Sakurai, T., & Ito, K. (2007). 1000 Dives by the Shinkai 6500 in 18 Years (pp. 21-27). In Proceedings of the 2007 Symposium on Underwater Technology and Workshop on Scientific Use of Submarine Cables and Related Technologies. IEEE.

Limiting Factor Data. (2018). Full ocean depth submersible. Retrieved from

Liu, F., Cui, W., & Li, X. (2010). China’s first deep manned submersible, JIAOLONG. Science China Earth Sciences, 53(10), 1407-1410.

Liu, Y., Guo, Z., & Zhu, B. (2006). Underwater tool system driven by seawater hydraulic power. Ocean Technology, 25(4), 65-69.

MIL-STD-1472g. (2012). Department of Defense Design Criteria Standard Human Engineering. United States Department of Defense, Create space Independent Pub.

Momma, H. (1999). Deep ocean technology at JAMSTEC. Marine Technology Society Journal, 33(4), 49-64.

Moorhouse, P. (2015). A modern history of the manned submersible. Marine Technology Society Journal, 49(6), 65-78.

Nakanishi, T., Takagawa, S., Tsuchiya, T., & Amitani, Y. (1986). Japanese 6,500 m deep manned research submersible project (pp. 1438-1442). In Proceedings of the OCEANS'86. IEEE.

Nanba, N., Morihana, H., Nakamura, E., & Watanabe, N. (1990). Development of deep submergence research vehicle “SHINKAI 6500”. Technical Review of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, 27(3), 157-168.

Pan, B. B., Cui, W. C., Ye, C., & Liu, Z. Y. (2012). Development of the unpowered diving and floating prediction system for deep manned submersible “JIAOLONG”. Journal of Ship Mechanics, 18(20), 2379-2385.

Sagalevich, A. M. (2016). Manned submersibles MIR and the worldwide research of hydrothermal vents. Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, 50, 167-194.

Sagalevich, A. M. (2018). 30 years experience of MIR submersibles for the ocean operations. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 155, 83-95.

Sagalevitch, A. M. (2012). 25th anniversary of the deep manned submersibles MIR-1 and MIR-2. Oceanology, 52(6), 817-830.

Seedhouse, E. (2011). Manned submersibles (pp. 61-74). Ocean Outpost, Springer, New York.

Shengjie, Q., Xiaohui, L., Yi, Z., Lei, Y., Baohua, L., Miao, T., & Xiangyi, Z. (2019). Effect of manned submersible operation on structural safety (pp. 375-378). In Proceedings of the 2019 CAA Symposium on Fault Detection, Supervision and Safety for Technical Processes. IEEE.

Walden, B. B., & Brown, R. S. (2004). A replacement for the Alvin submersible. Marine Technology Society Journal, 38(2), 85-91.

Walden, B., & Sharp, A. (1984). Atlantis II: A new support ship for Alvin (pp. 617-622). In Proceedings of the OCEANS 1984. IEEE.

WHOI. (2019). HOV Alvin. Retrieved from

Woods, S. A., Bauer, R. J., & Seto, M. L. (2012). Automated ballast tank control system for autonomous underwater vehicles. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 37(4), 727-739.

Yang, B., Liu, Y., & Liao, J. (2021). Manned submersibles: Deep-sea scientific research and exploitation of marine resources. Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 36(5), 622-631.

Yun, S. N., Ham, Y. B., Tanaka, Y., & Lee, P. M. (2015). New circuit strategy of the variable ballast system for a deep sea submersible (pp. 514-517). In Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Fluid Power and Mechatronics. IEEE.

Zhang, T., Tang, J., Qin, S., & Wang, X. (2019). Review of navigation and positioning of deep-sea manned submersibles. The Journal of Navigation, 72(4), 1021-1034.




How to Cite

Pranesh, B. ., Karthikeyan, S. ., Sathianarayanan, D. ., Palaniappan, M. ., & Ramadass, G. A. . (2023). An overview of the mechanical features of human occupied vehicles. Maritime Technology and Research, 5(4), 265626.