Challenges with current visual inspection methods
For over a century, divers have collected visual data of the underwater world. However, diving has its inherent risks and limitations, such as depth and duration constraints. Alternative methods have been developed such as underwater video captured by towed dropcams and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to survey and research the underwater world. In our view, these methods have the following downsides:
Inaccurate position information
The position accuracy of video captured by divers and dropcams is typically more than 20 meters. ROVs may know their position, however geo-tagging elements in the video stream is often not feasible due to inconsistent perspective / altitude.
This makes inspecting the same area every year not feasible.
The area covered each day is limited by the allowable dive time, or the velocity which still results in sharp frames.
Besides the slow data collection, the analysis of video is another time consuming task.
Obtaining good visual data requires:
Low currents (< 1 knots)
Safe weather conditions
As a consequence, many days in the year are not suitable for visual data gathering.
Our solution: Autonomous Visual Surveys
Our AUV is able to photograph the seabed area of interest with 100% coverage. Because of consistent, high image quality, we can combine all images into a single seabed map. This way the seabed can be analysed in GIS software.
Key selling points:
Have the birds-eye overview of the surveyed area
Geo-referenced visual data
Diverless and tetherless operations
Consistent image quality due to back scatter reducing lights
Up to 1 Ha per day with 100% coverage
Visual seabed map demonstration
This map was collected in the North Sea near the Dutch shore with our underwater visual survey technology. The size of the map is approximately 20 by 20 meters and the required time for collecting the map was 0.25 hours. View the images below for an impression.
Usecases of visual maps
These maps are advantageous to be used with the following goals.
We are developing and testing our underwater imaging solution together with