BlueWater 1 drone joins the race for the bottom
Ready to connect with your inner James Cameron, without getting your feet wet? Already, we've seen crowdfunded underwater drones such as the Trident, Gladius and Blueye Pioneer. Now, there's yet another. YouCan's BlueWater 1 (BW1) has just hit Indiegogo.
The BW1 can descend to a maximum depth of 100 m (328 ft), shooting 1080p/30 fps HD video and 4-megapixel stills as it does so. Its camera can be remotely tilted up or down, allowing users to see what's above or below the drone without having to engage the vertical thruster. Two 1,200-lumen LED spotlights help to illuminate the gloomy depths.
A hard-wired electrical tether links the BW1 to a buoy that is towed along on the surface above it. That buoy communicates with an iOS/Android control app on the user's smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi, relaying command signals to the drone and transmitting a live video feed from it. The Wi-Fi buoy has a maximum transmission range of 200 m (656 ft), not counting the length of the tether.
For easier control of the drone, there's also a video game-like controller that connects to the docked smartphone/tablet via Bluetooth.
If you see something you like through the camera, the drone has a self-locking feature, which reportedly allows it to hold position against the current until otherwise instructed. One charge of the BW1's battery should be good for three to four hours of "normal" use, or up to seven hours of light use.
The planned retail price of the YouCan BW1 is US$1,699, although Indiegogo pledges are currently available at $749. Assuming it reaches production, shipping is estimated to start in January 2018. It should also be noted that the $749 pledge is for a drone with a 50-m tether – if you want to go down the full 100 meters, you'll need to pledge more. You can see the campaign pitch video below.