When we think of drones we picture capturing incredible footage, enjoying an FPV experience, and generally exploring the world from a different perspective. Believe it or not, all of those things and more can be applied to the up and coming world of underwater exploration via drone.
Berkeley-based startup OpenROV has recently announced the launch of a consumer drone designed specifically for underwater adventures. The company’s Trident drone, now available for pre-order, is essentially an underwater quadcopter. The mobile platform is easy to pilot with a regular gaming controller or smartphone, and it’s able to stream and record live video in incredible detail. Unlike its aerial cousins, the Trident is tethered to the pilot’s controller with a thin cable. The result though is the same: a high-quality mobile camera that gives pilots a unique perspective of that which usually goes unseen.
Although the Trident has been designed for consumer use, it’s easy to imagine the same technology being applied to inspection services that are already growing within the commercial drone sector.
Speaking in an official company video, co-founder David Lang said that “It’s a simple design. We wanted to make it low cost and accessible so we can get these out to as many people as possible and see what they are able to discover.” This goes hand in hand with the company’s open-source policy – both the drone’s source code and hardware design are available for free on the website – and OpenROV’s ambition to make underwater exploration a fun, educational way to spend a day.
The Trident recently featured in a story in the New York Times, which documented a trip below the surface of Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The highlights from that trip can be watched in the video above.
OpenROV sold more than 3,000 of its 1st generation submarine, and will be hoping that the Trident cements them as the market leader in underwater robotics. The new Trident drone isn’t going to blow you away with speed compared to its airborne competitors, but a respectable top speed of 4.6 miles per hour underwater, combined with a strong two-hour battery life, makes it much easier to get the shots you’re looking for and take your time while doing so. The Trident can operate as deep as 328 feet down, which is double what your average scuba diver can reach.
The Trident, which the company expects will start shipping in November, is priced at $1,499. As well as traveling at speeds of almost four knots underwater, it will have a high-resolution camera and a lighting system bright enough to match car headlights.
OpenROV is offering $300 off pre-orders before July, so check out the website to find out more if you’re interested.