Drones

Underwater drone is ready to make a splash

Underwater drone is ready to m...
The Gladius underwater drone, ready for action
The Gladius underwater drone, ready for action
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The video game-like Gladius control unit
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The video game-like Gladius control unit
The Gladius underwater drone, ready for action
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The Gladius underwater drone, ready for action
The Gladius has a neutrally-buoyant aluminum alloy body
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The Gladius has a neutrally-buoyant aluminum alloy body
The Gladius' maximum dive depth is 100 meters
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The Gladius' maximum dive depth is 100 meters
The Gladius shoots either 1080p or 4K video, depending on the model
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The Gladius shoots either 1080p or 4K video, depending on the model
The Gladius comes with a 30-m (98-ft) tether, although a longer 100-m (328-ft) cable is available as an upgrade
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The Gladius comes with a 30-m (98-ft) tether, although a longer 100-m (328-ft) cable is available as an upgrade

If you're shopping around for an aerial drone, then you'll know that there are now lots of companies making them. What's perhaps a little more surprising, however, is the number of groups offering aquatic drones. Already, we've seen li'l remote-control submarines such as the Trident, FathomOne, CCROV and BlueROV2. Now another one has taken the plunge into the market, in the form of the currently-crowdfunding Gladius.

The 3-kg (6.6-lb) drone is being made in Standard and Advanced models, both of which come with a 30-m (98-ft) tether running up to a Wi-Fi-equipped buoy that's towed along at the surface. This means that the tether doesn't have to reach all the way from the Gladius to the operator. A longer 100-m (328-ft) cable is available as an upgrade, allowing the drone to travel farther from its buoy, and/or to dive deeper – its maximum dive depth is 100 meters.

Fish, treasure chests, sunken ships and whatnot are recorded at a maximum resolution of 1080p/60fps on the Standard, or 4K/30fps on the Advanced (with some help from a couple of built-in 1,200-lumen LED spotlights). Footage and 16MP stills are stored on an onboard SD card.

The Gladius' maximum dive depth is 100 meters
The Gladius' maximum dive depth is 100 meters

The two models also have different Wi-Fi ranges, with the Standard offering 30 meters (98 ft) and the Advanced offering 500 m (1,640 ft). This means that the buoy can be that far from the operator, with the tether potentially adding some additional horizontal distance to the drone itself.

Both versions have a neutrally-buoyant aluminum alloy body, four thrusters, a claimed three hours of run time per 1.5-hour charge of the two lithium-polymer battery packs, and a maximum forward speed of 2 meters (6.6 ft) per second. The included control unit features video game-like controls, and incorporates the user's iOS or Android smartphone. A 720p video feed allows them to see what the drone's camera is seeing.

The video game-like Gladius control unit
The video game-like Gladius control unit

Production funds for the Gladius are now being raised on Indiegogo, where a pledge of US$599 will get you a Standard and $799 will get you an Advanced – as usual, that's assuming everything goes according to plan. Their estimated retail prices are $1,399 and $1,699, respectively. By way of comparison, the aquatic drones we mentioned earlier range in price from $600 all the way up to $3,000.

The Gladius can be seen in action (some real, some animated), in the following video.

Source: Indiegogo

4 comments
LarryWolf
Reminds me of a really neat electric submarine I had as a kid about 1965. It had mechanical programing to dive, surface, make figure eights, etc but it got too close to an ice flow at a local lake in winter time and dove under the ice and sob sob it couldn't get back to open water and was lost. Man that was upsetting ha. I paid about $50 for that thing and back in 65' that was a lot of newspaper route money for a kid.
LarryWolf
I bet they won't allow these at water world but sure would be neat ha.
jd_dunerider
That's pretty neat! Would be cool if they added a small claw that could be opened to release a payload (chum for fish, a lure attached to your fishing rod, a gps beacon to mark a peculiar spot to dive to, etc).
ljaques
At those prices, they're certainly Big Boy/Girl toys. Pretty cool. @LarryWolf it reminds me of the little baking soda submarine I used in my bathtub when I was a wee lad.