While there are plenty of aerial drones that show us our surroundings from up in the air, there are far fewer remote-control devices that let us see what's lurking beneath the surface of the water. Although the Aquabotix Hydroview is one, at around US$3,000 it certainly isn't cheap. While still not inexpensive, the newest version of the TTRobotix Seawolf is considerably less pricey – partly because it incorporates the user's existing GoPro actioncam.
Not unlike the company's previously-released Neptune SB-1, the 7.7-kg (17-lb) Seawolf uses a pump-driven ballast system to perform static dives. This means that it can descend and ascend on the spot, as compared to dynamic-dive subs that must be moving forward in order to so, as they rely on the hydrodynamic force of the water flowing over their wing-like diving planes to go up or down.
The user's GoPro Hero3 or Hero4 sits in a clear acrylic nose cone built into the Seawolf's high-impact ABS hull, which can dive to a maximum depth of 10 meters (33 ft). Its maximum forward speed is 1.8 knots (3.3 km/h or 2 mph). While TTRobotix has yet to respond to our request for more information, a report on CNET states that the sub's 5,000-mAh battery should be good for 50 minutes of use.
There are actually three versions of the new Seawolf.
For use in radio-signal-absorbing salt water, the F13 model uses a 30-m (98-ft) cable to receive commands from the remote control unit and to relay real-time video from the GoPro to a shoreside 8-inch LCD screen. The "wireless" F11 and F12 models, by contrast, forgo the 30-m sub-to-shore tether for a 10-m cable that runs from the sub to a Wi-Fi transmitter located in a buoy floating on the surface. While the sub is presumably controlled by radio signals traveling through the less-dense fresh water, the Wi-Fi transmitter is used to send the GoPro's video signal to either the user's smartphone (F11 model) or a receiver-equipped LCD screen on the remote (F12).
Pricing for the Seawolf should reportedly be starting at US$999, with availability expected to begin in August.