Travel across ice can be an extreme hazard especially if heavy equipment is required. Ice thickness can vary dramatically. Understanding the thickness of ice is a key parameter in assessing safety, but measuring the ice itself can be a dangerous process. HELIX robots can be outfitted with a proprietary smart auger system that directly measures ice thickness, sensing when the auger penetrates into open water. Combined with remote operations, HELIX can safely be deployed to find a safe route for other equipment or human-crewed operations to traverse across the ice.