This Small Drone Can Capture Perfect Imagery from the Ocean Floor

This Small Drone Can Capture Perfect Imagery from the Ocean Floor
Image: Advanced Navigation

Sydney-based AI/robotics company Advanced Navigation has unveiled Hydrus, a football-sized underwater drone.

Advanced Navigation is calling Hydrus “a revolution in underwater drone technology, developed to open exciting frontiers in ocean exploration around the world”. Hydrus’ job is to help researchers reach areas they cannot access with ease – the depths of the ocean.

Hydrus is fully autonomous and fully submersible. The company says the underwater drone will revolutionise undersea research, survey and exploration by making data capture “simple and accessible”.

I asked Advanced Navigation if this thing was an April Fool’s joke, not because it’s unbelievable, rather because it’s so darn cute.

Hydrus
Image: Advanced Navigation

They said no.

There’s no denying the ocean is an extremely challenging environment – underwater there’s tremendous pressure, with no access to internet or GPS. The only way to communicate is through sound.

Advanced Navigation says existing equipment designed for ocean exploration typically requires a large vessel fitted with lifting equipment, qualified crews, professional divers as well as health and safety requirements. Hydrus eliminates the parts that make underwater data capture expensive, irregular and often ineffective.

“We’ve seen a revolution take place in the aerial drone industry, 10-15 years ago, only qualified experts could fly drones. Today, drones are simple and reliable enough that anyone can use them – which is why we’re seeing them in countless industries,” says Xavier Orr, CEO and co-founder of Advanced Navigation.

“Looking at underwater technology, we want the same thing to happen. At the moment, underwater vehicles require specialist knowledge and training to be used effectively. We’ve developed Hydrus to ensure professional grade underwater imagery and data is accessible to everyone, enabling greater opportunities across the ocean, whether it’s inspecting offshore wind farms, capturing undersea cinematography or monitoring coral reefs.”

Hydrus
Image: Advanced Navigation

What you can expect from Hydrus:

  • Advanced sonar, navigation and communications systems allows Hydrus to cut the tether and navigate fully autonomously, avoiding obstacles and adjusting missions on the fly.
  • Operational straight out of the box, without the need for specific knowledge or training, the web interface makes it simple to plan and execute underwater missions in 3D.
  • Hydrus is equipped with a cinema-grade 4K 60fps camera combined with an AI engine to analyse image quality and adjust lighting on the fly.
  • Its compact size and minimal weight means it can be launched by a single person and taken as carry-on when flying.

You can preorder one now ahead of release later this year, if ya want. Advanced Navigation hasn’t given us a price, but you can get a quote from their website.