The design of a prototype remote-controlled glacier-surveying robot, capable of taking accurate above- and below-water measurements of calving glacier fronts, using swath bathymetry and laser scanning hardware is presented. Data captured using the remote control system during field trials on the Lille Gletscher in western Greenland are informally compared with data captured using the same sensors from the same glacier using a much larger manned vessel during the same time period. The potential use of such a device during extended repeat survey missions is discussed and the implications in terms of both the improvement in data quality and the logistics in the field are also outlined. Future improvements to the robot and in particular the control system are described, as well as mechanical and electrical design considerations that became apparent during trials. The transition to a more autonomous system and the possibility of full autonomy are considered. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.