2017: The Year of the Underwater Drone

(Image Source:  Pexels)

Drones have revolutionized the way we perceive unmanned vehicles. Drones represent the combination of technology, photography and aircraft. A drone is also known as an unmanned aerial vehicle and is essentially an aircraft which doesn’t require a human pilot to be present on board.

Drones are also far smaller than traditional aircrafts such as airplanes and helicopters. A drone is usually manned using remote controls and it offers varying degrees of autonomy. Although the rise of drones has also brought with it a variety of controversies, including safety, privacy, and more, these devices have managed to expand the boundaries of what we thought possible with aerial systems.

2017 seems all set to push these boundaries even further with the creation and increasing adoption of a new form of unmanned vehicle, the underwater drone. This latest technology brings together science, water and adventure to create a truly unique product.

 What Is an Underwater Drone?

This modified version of a drone has the ability to dive under water up to 30 meters or 98 feet. The underwater drone can use sonar to detect fish up to another 40 meters below it, making it a total of 131 feet underwater from surface level. The drone’s sensor has the ability to detect anything with diameter as small as 3.9 inches.

These drones are equipped with Wi-Fi systems, which allow it to send videos and images to the user. All of this is done using a camera which, similar to a traditional drone model, comes installed in the underwater drone. The parts found in these underwater drones are essentially the same as those found at manufacturers such as ismolex and other female header manufacturers.

An increasing number of companies have started manufacturing underwater drones, also called aquatic drones. One of the attractions of these products is their ability to take beautiful underwater images, which attracts wildlife enthusiasts and beginners alike.

Underwater drones can record video up to a resolution of 4K and can also capture images up to 12 megapixels, the same resolution as an iPhone 7. They also have the ability to stream video at a resolution of 1080p. Even more impressive is the fish eye lens, which an aquatic drone uses to capture the underwater environment. These images are relayed to the user via Wi-Fi, using tools that are commonly found with pin header connector manufacturers.

Drones to Attract Fish

 These underwater drones are also able to attract fish using an internal ‘fish luring light,’ which emits a shade of blue, a color that is said to attract fish. They also feature remote-controlled bait drops, which allow the user to place snares anywhere under water.

Control

These devices take every aspect of the traditional drone a little bit further. One such aspect is the ability to control the device with a remote controller. This can be done using a wearable device or using the device’s own virtual reality goggles. These goggles have the ability to recognize hand gestures, so the user can control the device perfectly by simply moving their hands.

The underwater drones have an aluminum alloy body, which allows them to be neutrally-buoyant. They usually run at a speed averaging 2 meters per second. The control unit, which comes with the drone resembles a video game console. Thanks to the video feed available on the console, the user can see what the drone’s camera sees.

Battery Life

With such a variety of tools and everything that the underwater drone offers, it is hard to fault it. However, if one aspect of this invention can be improved upon, it is the battery life. Currently, it stands at approximately 4 hours, which will not be sufficient for many people. When you shoot in the wild, which this drone is perfect for doing, you are often away from electricity for long periods of time. Not recharging your drone after every 4 hours will render it useless. Perhaps once this new technology gains more traction in the market, this will be something that will be improved.

Prior Use of Underwater Drones

Unmanned underwater vehicles have been around for a while, but their new commercial side has only recently been explored, making these products available to the public. Their uses have been seen in a number of industries including law enforcement, defense, marine, underwater inspection, boat inspection, and public safety. They have also been used for water management, and marine biologists have used it as a tool for conducting research.

Among some of the biggest users of this technology have been the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. It is not surprising then to see that in December 2016, the U.S.  Department of Defense announced its plans to invest almost US 3 billion dollars in this technology to improve its surveillance efforts. This announcement came soon after an announcement by the U.S. Defense Science Board regarding its recommendations to the Navy to adopt commercial, low-cost assets in the undersea area.

Conclusion

Given the usability that underwater drones have for government bodies, it is not surprising that these products are slowly, yet steadily making their way into the public domain. 2017 has already seen the rise of several aquatic drone manufacturers and the rest of the year is, no doubt, going to see further developments in this exciting form of technology.

Author Bio:

Rachel Oliver is a freelancer who has a way with words. She likes to write about anything and everything under the sun, but themes like technology, electronics & gadgets, sports, construction and maintenance interests her more. You can get in touch with her on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.