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  • Roosje Rutten

Underwater Mapping with Van Oord

Together with Van Oord we validated our technology in different environments and enhanced our launch and recovery procedure, laying the groundwork for deployment in future projects.

Client: Van Oord, leading international maritime contractor

Period: 2022-2023

Location(s): The North Sea, Bosplas, Nieuwe Meer, Grevelingen and Oosterschelde


Key takeaways

In this pilot, we have:

  1. Demonstrated Lobster Scout's ability to operate in various visibility and current conditions by sailing in four different locations.

  2. Mapped 0.5 Ha in one operation day, stitched large data together into a single seabed photomosaic and operated at 17 m depth.

  3. Had our maiden voyage in the North Sea, operating in sea state 3.

'Lobster Robotics' unique optical seabed mapping addresses our need for underwater infrastructure inspections in our projects. The progress they've been making is truly impressive, and it is a pleasure to collaborate with them'.

-John van der Marel, Survey Specialist at Van Oord.


Van Oord is continuously exploring new underwater technology solutions in the pursuit of delivering the best quality service to their clients. The challenges with their current methods of underwater mapping involving ROVs and manned vessels are their lack of scalability, cost-effectiveness, practicality and availability.

Van Oord has shown an interest in utilizing the Lobster Scout in overcoming these challenges. That's why in 2022 we've started several pilot projects, focusing on enhancing our launch and recovery method as well as validating our technology in various environmental conditions.



During the pilot in which we improved our launch and recovery procedure. We deployed the Lobster Scout from a Multicat in Van Oord's Moerdijk port, while meeting Van Oord's high QHSE (Quality, Health, Safety and Environment) standards. We've since then implemented this level of quality in all of our other projects as well.

Pilot day of our launch and recovery procedure with Van Oord in the harbor.

Within the second pilot project we've validated our technology by deploying the Lobster Scout in four different locations with various visibility and current conditions. We've produced several 2D survey lines, captured with different camera settings, combined with a single 400 square meter map per location. The 2D survey lines showed the quality of the data using various settings, while the maps of the larger areas provided insight into the operational efficiency and reliability of the technology.

Van Oord presented us with some interesting challenges during this pilot. Not everything worked as we expected, so we've made valuable improvements to the technology thanks to this pilot.

In the end, comparing the photos from different lakebeds and seafloors with various environmental conditions, we've been able to show the consistent delivery of clear, high-quality data gathered by the Lobster Scout.

From top to bottom you can see the seafloor of the Northsea and the lakebeds of Grevelingen, Oosterschelde and Nieuwe Meer. These photos are all taken 1 meter above the floor. Despite the variety in water quality, Lobster Scout still captures sharp images that show what lies beneath the surface.

The worlds of a small tech startup and a huge corporate couldn't be further apart. Despite this difference our collaboration with Van Oord is strong, and we're proud of the progress we've made together, and the trust we've received from Van Oord to continue our collaboration towards future projects.


With our autonomous, battery-powered technology, Van Oord can significantly reduce emissions on their projects by minimizing vessel time and eliminating the need for diesel generators to power their devices. Additionally, we enhance safety by keeping personnel onshore and automating mundane, repetitive tasks. Our shared vision contributes to a safer, cleaner, and more efficient way of working.

Behind the scenes



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