Underwater drone lets anglers lay eyes on the prize
Beijing-based drone builder PowerVision Robot is no stranger to peculiar design, having previously bought us the PowerEgg, a high-flying machine shaped exactly as its name suggests. For this year's CES, the company has taken the wraps off perhaps an even odder creation, a submersible drone that uses sonar to detect fish, blue light to lure them in and a 4K camera to stream all the action back to the boat.
We've seen a long line of drones that have been designed to venture beneath the water for different reasons, including to retrieve water samples, perform search and rescue operations and record video. Meanwhile, we've also seen more than a few gadgets aimed at anglers looking to bring a technological advantage to their craft, including floating fish-finders and connected rods that ping your phone when there's action down below.
We first saw an attempt to marry the two with a concept called the AguaDrone last year, which tells users where the fish are and then flies the lure to that spot. But it didn't quite boast the suite of capabilities that the new PowerRay is promising (it also didn't meet its Kickstarter goal).
The PowerRay can dive 30 meters (98 ft) below the surface and uses an (optional) sonar attachment to detect fish up to 40 meters (131 ft) away, according to PowerVision. Its own Wi-Fi system reportedly then transmits live photo and video grabbed by the onboard 4K camera to the companion app on the user's smartphone – although we'll believe that when we see it, as transmitting video signals through water is notoriously difficult.
It even has the ability to integrate fish identification into these images along with alerts, according to the company.
Anglers can also rig up their PowerRay with bait and send the drone off to the desired location, using a luring light with a hue of blue designed to attract fish. And if streaming underwater action on your smartphone seems a bit passé, another optional extra is a set of PowerVision VR Goggles, which offer a first person perspective and even allow the user to control the drone with head tilts.
The company hasn't announced pricing yet, but says the PowerRay will be available globally for pre-order on February 27.
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I'm not an angler, but I think if I saw anyone using one of these on the banks of a river I'd push them in!