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The best underwater drones for exploring the depths

5 February 2021By Sam Fortescue

We're used to seeing drones flying high, but they can dive deep too. Sam Fortescue recommends the best underwater drones for capturing marine life in high quality.

BW Space Pro

Small and hydrodynamic, with a manoeuvrable 3D Attitude control system, the BW Space Pro has a capable camera system with a large image sensor that performs well in low light. Its 4K camera has a 6x optical zoom, image stabiliser and digital defogging.

$1,799, youcanrobot.com

Deep Trekker DTG3 Navigator

A premium version of Deep Trekker’s mini ROV, this is designed to withstand commercial use. It will shoot 4K video and eight-megapixel stills, and is sensitive in low light – just as well, because it’s rated to a depth of 200 metres. It also includes underwater GPS and precision thrusters. 

£20,400, deeptrekker.com

Aquarobotman Nemo

For diving, treasure hunts or just exploring underwater, a simpler unit can be an advantage. Nemo is no slouch, though – it has a 4K video and 16-megapixel stills camera, app control and four thrusters, and works down to a depth of 100 metres. 

£1,310, aquarobotman.com

Powerray Wizard

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.

€2,099, powervision.me

Robosea Biki

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.

€799, robosea.org

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.

€4,499, ibubble.camera

Blueye Pioneer

This capable Norwegian design dives down to 150 metres and runs for two hours between charges. It is a leisure version of a commercial chassis with full HD camera and 3,300-lumen lighting. It has a top speed of three knots and is designed to resist sand clouds on the sea floor. 

From $13,106, blueyerobotics.com

Chasing M2 ROV

With eight vectored thrusters for movement in all directions, the M2 can roll, tilt and pitch for the perfect shot. It packs a 4K UHD camera and can dive to 100 metres. Sophisticated attachments include a grabber claw, GoPro camera, laser scaler and diving light. 

£2,499, chasing.com

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