Event News

Autonomous Harbor – Live Demos Friday 21 April 2017

The maritime robotics theme of TUS Expo and RoboBusiness Europe will be focused on “Autonomous Harbor”. Robots and other unmanned systems are envisioned everywhere, but for who will they perform their tasks? How do they become conscious of their environment? And how will they interact with the human agents with which they share the (work-) space?  In the morning, we will explore these topics in detail at the conference hall. Developers and end users discuss the human factor in these emerging robotic worlds, such as situational awareness and other technological possibilities and challenges that are related to this question. In the afternoon you are invited to RDM Rotterdam, and find out for yourself how these themes  are being  addressed in the maritime industry.

Autonomous Harbor

In collaboration with multiple partners, in 2014 RDM Centre of Expertise launched the multi-year program Aquabots, with a central role for robotic boats (aquatic drones) with a hull length of 1.5 m. The use of robots and autonomous and unmanned vessels in combination with sensors is an important development for the maritime sector. The Aquabots can be used for:

  • measurements of water depth and quality
  • sailing in formation with multiple Aquabots
  • autonomous quay and riverbed inspections
  • security applications such as detection of drowning persons

The Aquabots have two locations for testing at RDM Rotterdam: the Aqualab hydrological engineering laboratory inside the Innovation Dock building, which is paired to a bridge simulator, and the Drone Harbour outside; a unique experimental site in open water for aquatic drones. This part of the Rotterdam port is closed to regular shipping and provides space to businesses and educational organizations for conducting research and performing tests with aquatic drones and autonomous sailing.


RDM Rotterdam is the hotspot for innovation in the port: this is where the manufacturing industry of the future is taking shape. The former shipyard of the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM) – where shipbuilders once worked on world-famous vessels like the SS Rotterdam – is now home to a range of exciting private-sector, education and research initiatives. In the heart of the port area – but still surprisingly close to the city centre – they work on a range of innovations that will contribute to a ‘smarter port’. This is complemented by a wide array of business and cultural events, making RDM a uniquely dynamic environment to work in. A location that you should definitely check out!

Program Demonstration Day Autonomous Harbour at RDM Rotterdam

  • Welcome and introduction by Christoph Maria Ravesloot, applied research professor Sustainable Process Innovation and BIM at the Research Centre for Sustainable Port Cities of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Tour of the RDM Rotterdam facility and various demonstrations with aquatic drones
  • Keynote by Kees Pieters, applied research professor Mainport and Maritime Information at the Research Centre for Sustainable Port Cities of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, on the near future of unmanned vessels

More information

Morning: World Forum The Hague (Conference)
Afternoon: Rotterdam dry docks, RDM

Buses run from the World Forum to RDM from 13.00 hrs and return at 17.00 hrs

You can also go to RDM by car:
Address: Directiekade 32 3089 JA Rotterdam

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