Hurtigruten Cruise Ships Stream Underwater Drone Footage for Passengers

Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten is introducing Blueye Pioneer underwater drones to to live-stream footage of nearby marine life to its passengers.

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Underwater drones are being eyed by the Navy for research and defense, marine biologists for analyzing the Great Barrier reef, and hobbyists who simply get a kick out of exploring what lies beneath the surface. These remote operated vehicles are a tool just like their aerial counterparts, and now it seems that even the tourism industry sees their appeal. Norwegian cruise line company Hurtigruten is introducing an underwater drone footage as part of their on-board amenities. It will stream real-time video of the marine life lurking beneath its ships to passengers on board.

The drone in question is a Blueye Pioneer, which was designed for operating in low light and is fitted with powerful thrusters to maintain course and stability. According to The Los Angeles Times, Hurtigruten will equip its remote polar water-based cruise ships with the Pioneer, and provide its customers with live footage of wildlife such as orcas, penguins, sharks, and other local species. 

The 15-pound ROV will traverse the oceans and stream back footage to screens across the ship. Passengers can then either wear first-person goggles or simply glance at the screens on board. The former option may actually convert people unfamiliar with drones or first-person experiences to learn more about the technology, as it’s a really exciting, visceral experience to behold. 

Initially, Hurtigruten plans to equip only two of their ships, both of which are hybrid-powered vehicles. Passengers of Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen ships will be the first lucky customers to encounter this underwater drone experience. 

“[W]ith underwater drones on our ships we can take our guests to areas less explored than the surface of Mars,” said Daniel Skjeldam, Chief Executive of Hurtigruten, to the LA Times. Hurtigruten’s cruise ships traverse areas such as Antarctica, Arctic Canada, Greenland, the Northwest Passage, Svalbard and, of course, the Norwegian coast.