Marine

Trident ROV may be that underwater drone you've been looking for

Trident ROV may be that underw...
The Trident ROV in its element
The Trident ROV in its element
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OpenROV's original ROV (left) and the Trident (right)
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OpenROV's original ROV (left) and the Trident (right)
The Trident ROV features rugged rubber side panels
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The Trident ROV features rugged rubber side panels
The Trident ROV has an HD camera and six LED spotlights
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The Trident ROV has an HD camera and six LED spotlights
Using the Trident ROV to inspect a boat's hull
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Using the Trident ROV to inspect a boat's hull
The Trident ROV in its element
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The Trident ROV in its element
The Trident ROV can descend to a maximum depth of 100 meters
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The Trident ROV can descend to a maximum depth of 100 meters
The Trident ROV relays data to a surface buoy via a cable
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The Trident ROV relays data to a surface buoy via a cable
The Trident ROV has a top speed of 2 meters (6.6 ft) per second from the water
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The Trident ROV has a top speed of 2 meters (6.6 ft) per second from the water
Users control the ROV and view its video via open-source software on a topside laptop or mobile device
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Users control the ROV and view its video via open-source software on a topside laptop or mobile device
One charge of the Trident ROV's LiFePO4 battery pack should allow for up to three hours of use
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One charge of the Trident ROV's LiFePO4 battery pack should allow for up to three hours of use
The Trident ROV's planned retail price is $1,199
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The Trident ROV's planned retail price is $1,199

Aerial drones are great for providing a bird's eye view of our world. That said, some people are more interested in seeing a fish's eye view of their local seacoast or lake. Previously, such folks had to build their own underwater remote-operated vehicle (ROV). Three years ago, San Francisco startup OpenROV made things a little easier for them, by offering an ROV kit that users put together themselves. Now, the company is crowdfunding the fully-assembled Trident ROV, which can reportedly be "flown" through the water.

The hydrodynamic-bodied Trident has two rear thrusters that provide rapid horizontal propulsion, along with a third mid-mounted vertical thruster that moves the ROV vertically. It has a top speed of 2 meters (6.6 ft) per second, and can descend to a maximum depth of 100 meters (328 ft). That said, it can also hover on the spot, delicately panning and tilting to inspect targets via its front-mounted HD video camera and six LED spotlights.

Radio waves don't travel well through water, however. That's why the Trident sends real-time video and receives commands via a neutrally-buoyant cable that runs up to a Wi-Fi-equipped buoy, which is towed along above it at the surface. This means that although the ROV is tethered, it isn't limited by a cable that runs all the way back to the operator. In fact, the cable that it comes with is 25 m (82 ft) long – buyers who want to take the Trident deeper can go with an optional longer cable.

The Trident ROV has an HD camera and six LED spotlights
The Trident ROV has an HD camera and six LED spotlights

Users control the ROV and view its video via open-source software on a topside laptop or mobile device. Along with providing real-time remote control, this program can also be used to set the Trident to perform grid searches of a given area.

One charge of its LiFePO4 battery pack should allow for up to three hours of use – remember, unlike an aerial drone, it isn't constantly working to stay aloft.

If you're liking the sounds of the Trident, you can currently preorder one on OpenROV's Kickstarter page with a pledge of US$799. The planned retail price is $1,199. Assuming all goes according to plans, backers should receive their ROVs next November.

Source: Kickstarter

1 comment
Oun Kwon
Million of this side by side deployed might be able to sweep and scan the ocean floor to look the lost Malaysian jetliner.