Rotterdam using Dutch-developed trash-eating water drones

During the recent World Port Days 2016 in Rotterdam the public in attendance was treated to a product of state-of-the-art Dutch innovation on water.

The AquaDrone is a compact aquatic drone from Dutch start-up AquasmartXL. The camera-equipped water drone provides a live camera feed that makes it possible to monitor the harbour and to visually inspect ships. It can complement or even replace traditional methods used in ports around the world.

Its small size lets it reach areas that divers or people in conventional vessels cannot get to and it’s easy to manoeuvre. Not only is it more cost-effective than traditional solutions, it is also much safer for the inspectors. Currently the drone is tasked with inspecting concrete structures for an oil terminal and visualising them in 3D.

The drone operator can even use VR goggles to look around using the AquaDrone, and by spinning it around in real-time they can get a 360-degree view of the surroundings.

Another drone that was showed off is the Waste Shark from RanMarine. About the size of a passenger car, it has an open mouth in front that’s below sea level. It can collect and remove up to 500kg of waste from the water.

For the next six months, four Waste Sharks will perform a test run for the Port of Rotterdam Authority to clean up litter around the Rotterdam docks.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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