High visibility: The best underwater drones for exploring the depths
by Sam Fortescue
This ray-shaped box of tricks is capable of descending to 30m on a 70m cord. The PowerRay can stream HD video to your smart device and shoot 4K video at 30fps as well as hi-res stills – all lit with its built- in LED spots. The Wizard package comes with sonar fish-finder, bait delivery unit and VR headset.
This second-generation drone has five drives for more manoeuvrability and a battery life of up to two hours. It’s controlled wirelessly from up to 100m via a buoy tethered by a cord. Set a tilt lock for stunning 4K camera and 12mp images at depths of up to 100m, using built-in lights and optional colour correction filters.
Chinese outfit RoboSea has made a “cute” drone in the shape of a bionic fish that uses its tail for propulsion. Wireless control is achieved from your phone via a sonar unit. BIKI has infrared obstacle avoidance, shoots 4K video and 16mp stills with image stabilisation, and there’s a return-to-base button.
DTG2 DEEP TREKKER ROV
Decidedly more Jacques Cousteau than the others here, the Deep Trekker can descend to 150m and work for up to eight hours on a 90-minute charge. Upgrade to a 4K camera for HD video and 18mp stills. Rugged and with built-in lighting, it comes with a remote.
IBUBBLE DIVE CAMERA
Designed to film you during dives, iBubble is autonomous for up to an hour in the water. It operates silently, using sonar to avoid reefs or coral, with emission levels that don’t impact marine mammals. Twin 1,000-lumen lights adjust to diminishing light automatically.