An AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is a tool for surveying the seabed using acoustics or imagery. The system is designed to be operated without operator intervention, based on pre-programmed parameters such as survey plan, depth, exclusion zones, and payload settings.


AUV technology is advantageous to use in a number of applications because it offers significantly better data quality, faster production of data and lower personnel requirements. These advantages make the use of AUVs a key parameter in the offering of services to customers.


AUV technology is fully matured, and has been operated commercially since 2002. Atlas Maridan has developed its 4th generation AUV, the SeaOtter Mk II, based on the experience gained from using and operating the previous generations in the harshest environment the globe has to offer and on a daily basis as a data gathering tool.

Hydrographic Survey

Hydrographic surveying is wide area seabed mapping with a wide range of acoustics sensors including side scan sonar, swathe bathymetry and sub-bottom profiling. An aspect of the SeaOtter Mk II technology is the flexibility to carry a wide range of survey instruments which also include magnetometers, cameras and sampling equipment.

Survey sensors are integrated into the vehicle control system to benefit from ease of operations when developing and setting up the mission scenario, to merging position data with the RAW sensor data directly in the AUV to processing the data after the mission.

As an autonomous vehicle the AUV will operate independently from the support vessel, this frees the vessel to conduct parallel operations which can be geophysical or geotechnical.

Engineering Survey

This type of survey work includes inspection of constructions and installations, control surveys, photogrammetric mapping, engineering layout, lithostratigraphic deformation measurements, and boundary surveying.

The AUV has a hovering capability to remain dynamically positioned in the water column, integrated survey sensors to record data and endurance to conduct long detailed inspections over closely defined targets and areas.

Furthermore, the AUV has the ability to operated from the shallowest water to limit of the depth rating of the vehicle giving it the ability to conduct uninterrupted surveys in area where access can be hampered otherwise from land or sea.


Cable & Pipeline Inspection

Cable and pipeline inspections cover a broad range of operations including telecommunication cables, power cables and power cables from offshore energy generation as well as feeder and export pipelines for oil and gas.

These types of inspection have three segments:

  • Pre-lay assessment of route,

  • Installation surveying to verify adherence to requirements and

  • Post-lay checking for movement, damage or wear



The AUV can support dredging operations by continuously surveying the excavation site for sediment removed. The AUV will conduct a pre-construction survey to establish a data base line, subsequent surveys will add to the data base and the data can be fused for obtaining knowledge of the most efficient utilization of the site.

Furthermore, the AUV can, with the use of 3D sub-bottom profiling, provide a 3D digital terrain map which can be used collectively by the dredging company, contractor and environmental agencies for the benefit of all.


Environmental Monitoring

The AUV is a flexible carrier of integrated survey instruments – these can be acoustic, imagery, sampling or something else. The instruments are integrated and fused with the navigation system in the AUV. Data sampling frequency and survey planning can be individually addressed in order for a survey plan to specific to the data required.

The AUV can be launched from a pier or off the back of a trailer and survey the littoral zone or be mobilized used on a vessel-of-opportunity for operation in the EEZ measuring and delineating seabed boundaries. Dedicated research vessel can also mobilize the AUV for long term scientific missions where the main aim of the AUV operations is daily operations with a fixed set of payload sensors to conduct continuous readings.

Other AUV Missions

The wide range of special features of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
enable them to contribute to a number of areas in naval warfare,
such as

  • Minehunting

    • Dedicated

    • Organic

    • Shore-Based

    • Air-Delivered

  • Anti-Submarine Warfare

  • Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance

  • Rapid Environmental Assessment

  • Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection

  • Maritime Security

  • Special Forces Support