Wed, Feb

The Next Great Frontier for Drones Lies in the Ocean Depths


Consumer drones conquered the sky. Now they look to the sea.

Consumer drones conquered the sky. Now they look to the sea.

Drones capable of underwater operation are little more than novelties at the moment, but the technology could advance marine research, revolutionize undersea cinematography, and let anyone explore places even experienced divers cannot reach.

A handful of companies are leading this leap into the water. PowerVision, a Chinese robotics firm with 10 offices around the world, introduced its PowerRay underwater drone earlier this year. OpenROV of Berkeley, California, staged a successful crowdfunding campaign for the Trident, its remotely operated vehicle. These machines offer only limited practicality, but point the way to a future where consumer drones do all sorts of things beneath the waves.

Oceanographers use undersea drones, of course, but the car-sized behemoths cost as much as a house and require skilled operators and sophisticated command centers. Consumer models cost no more than their aerial counterparts, and require just a little patience and a smartphone to operate.

Read more at Wired

Image: The PowerRay drone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada in January 2017 (Credit: Amy Lombard for Wired)