SeaDrone simplifies underwater exploration and inspection

by admin May 11, 2016 at 6:56 am

It’s the year, or perhaps the decade, of the drone, and the popular craft are only getting cheaper, better and easier to control. But why should drones be limited to the air? The SeaDrone, demonstrated onstage at Disrupt NY today, brings the benefits and simplicity of multi-rotor airborne drones to underwater applications.

“You could consider it an underwater quadcopter,” Eduardo Moreno, co-founder of O-Robotix, told TechCrunch. “It’s not made like a missile, like other underwater drones. It’s designed to stabilize itself. We focused on innovating on how a robot could capture very stable footage.”

The craft may borrow its overall style from popular aerial drones, but the turbines are the company’s own bespoke design. They’re smaller, lighter, simpler, cheaper and more durable than off-the-shelf models, dropping the cost of the device immensely while also improving its maneuverability.

It also means the whole thing fits in a case you can put in the passenger seat. That’s a big plus.

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The SeaDrone is controlled with a tablet app, and the craft itself runs a custom Linux install — eschewing the “very analog” control schemes of most remote-operated underwater vehicles. The onboard OS also allows for programmable motions — for instance, automated inspection of nets or thorough, 360-degree video captures of the surroundings.