While drones are increasingly affordable, they're also starting to be found in more places than just above our heads. We recently covered MIT's efforts to have drones not only traverse the sky but tread on land, and are now seeing a Norwegian company dipping their proverbial toes—and literal drones—into the oceans.
Blueye's Pioneer is a "remote operated vehicle" ROV) drone equipped to descend as far as 450 feet and record and stream 1080p videos at 30 frames per second—all while being remotely controlled through a videogame console controller or through your smartphone. It doesn't stop there, either—the Pioneer was specifically designed to be used in tandem with a virtual reality (VR) headset, which would allow users to immerse themselves into the experience as much as the Pioneer immerses itself into the seas.
With a purposefully lower price point than all other ROVs of its kind, as user-friendly as possible, and clocking in at a mere 18 pounds, the Pioneer will likely be the de facto underwater hobby drone to aim for. Blueye CEO Eric Dyrkoren said that this was exactly his goal— bringing professional underwater drone tech to the people.
"We wanted to make this technology available to many more people, we’ve been focusing on the design, the control system, and the camera," said Dyrkoren. "It’s like playing a video game. It’s very easy to use and the video streaming is in real-time, we have very low-latency."
There's been a massive demand for the combination of drones and VR, and it seems like the Pioneer was birthed from not only a wish to make these underwater drones more affordable, but to capitalize on that niche of drones and gaming we're all so fond of.
According to TheNextWeb, the Pioneer can be simply chucked into the ocean and easily started therein. There's no need for a hub, a base, and it's been tested for resilience and quality assurance for quite some time now. The Pioneer was even deployed in the Arctic, to test its mettle in harsh conditions like below freezing temperate and choppy waters.
Preorders have already begun for the ROV. You can check the product out in further detail here, before the item starts shipping next year, according to Blueye's CEO. We'll definitely keep an eye on this thing, as it seems like the first, true hobby underwater drone that some of us could actually afford. Stay tuned.