Car discovery with underwater drones

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 / Dora, Trondheim, Norway

Several times during a week, The Blueye Team is out and about testing the Blueye Pioneer underwater drone at different locations. Late November 2018, we were pretty shocked to discover a car at the seabed close to our office. Our initial thought was that someone has dumped their car and left it hoping no one would find it. After talking to the local police and fire department, we learned that the car has been sunken there for a very different reason.

Unrevealing secrets below the surface with drones

It was a cold morning the 20th of November. Two of our Blueye Team members conducted a demo of the underwater drone at one of our usual diving spots; Dora. In recent years, Trondheim Harbour have cleaned and filled the seabed with crushed limestone. We didn't expect to find much of land based objects on the seafloor.

While submerging the underwater drone a few meters down to the seabed, and approximately 10 meters out from shore, a shiny car showed up on the screen.

A sunken car found at Dora in Trondheim
A sunken car found at Dora in Trondheim. Screengrab from the Blueye Pioneer.

This could be insurance fraud!

An almost brand new car, turned on it’s head, is right there on the seafloor in front of us. The car, a shiny green Audi A4, seemed empty and the license plates removed. We came to the conclusion that we had discovered an attempt of insurance fraud.

After conducting further investigations around the car, the drone pilot, Knut, saw something that looked just like a couple of legs. Immediately he called the local police and informed them about his findings. While talking to the Police on the phone, and piloting the underwater drone around the car, he saw that the legs belonged to a manikin. Luckily, it was not a person inside the car.

A sunken car found at Dora in Trondheim
Inspecting the sunken car. Screengrab from the Blueye Pioneer.

The Police called the local fire department which confirmed that the car is theirs and placed on the seafloor including a test doll. The purpose of the car and the test doll was to perform practice diving. Even though the local fire department could confirm our findings, both them and the Police decided to come by and to do a practice drill. The whole incident could indeed happen in real life and more and more people are doing their own underwater discoveries. It ended up being a perfect drill with local authorities and underwater drones.

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Voyage Destination

Dora, Trondheim, Norway