Gladius Mini underwater drone is small but capable
Although there are presently numerous consumer underwater drones on the market, one that really caught our eye was Chasing Innovations' Gladius Advanced Pro. Now, the company has announced the smaller, lighter and cheaper Gladius Mini, which actually has some extra features.
Whereas the Advanced measures 432 x 269 x 112 mm (17 x 10.6 x 4.4 inches) and weighs 3.2 kg (7 lb), the Mini sits at 384 x 224 x 137 mm (15.1 x 8.8 x 5.4 inches) and tips the scales at 2.5 kg (5.5 lb). That said, its maximum dive depth still matches the Advanced's 100 meters (328 ft).
Other features shared by both models include a 4K/30fps/12-megapixel camera, dual LED spotlights, and a maximum forward speed of 4 knots (2 meters/6.6 ft per second).
Footage and photos are recorded on an onboard SD card, plus real-time 720p video is streamed up to a shore- or boat-located reel unit through the Mini's communications cable. An iOS/Android app on the user's smartphone wirelessly communicates with that cable reel via Wi-Fi, displaying a real-time video feed on the phone's screen – a dual-joystick controller also communicates with the reel, sending commands down to the drone.
One thing that's different about the Mini, however (besides its size), is the number of thrusters. While the Advanced has four – two for horizontal propulsion and two for vertical – the five-thruster Mini has an extra vertical thruster in the rear, which is claimed to result in increased stability.
Additionally, unlike the Advanced, the Mini can be locked at a tilt angle of plus or minus 45 degrees. This means that it can move forward to track a moving subject, for example, remaining tilted up or down while doing so. By contrast, underwater drones without that feature have to level out flat whenever moving forward.
So, why would anyone still want the larger Advanced? Well, for one thing, its bigger battery offers a runtime of three hours, as compared to the Mini's two. Additionally, its cable reel can be mounted on a floating buoy that the drone pulls along at the surface, greatly increasing the distance that the drone can travel from the user while still remaining in control range.
Should you still prefer what the Mini has to offer, it can be preordered now for US$1,099 – the planned retail price is $1,299, with the Advanced Pro coming in at $1,799. There's also a $1,499 Standard Pro model that's the same size as the Advanced, but that has 1080p/60fps video and a maximum dive depth of just 50 meters (164 ft).
You can see the Mini in use, in the following video.
Source: Chasing Innovation