Australian start-up Aquabotix this week introduced SwarmDiver, a micro-aquatic drone that can tackle surface and underwater missions as a single vehicle or in a swarm.
In swarms of 30 units, the drones can dive on command and collect underwater data for surveying, aquatic research, surveillance and reconnaissance for military and commercial users.
“This vehicle is a game-changer for both the industry and Aquabotix,” Aquabotix CEO Whitney Million said. “Until today, there were simply no micro hybrid USV/UUV vehicles and no swarming unmanned vehicles with diving capabilities, commercially available in the industry. Aquabotix has changed that.”
“In addition to defense and security applications, SwarmDiver can be deployed in research, harbor management and oceanography.”
Whitney added the Sydney-based company is responding to a demand for aquatic drones by navies worldwide, calling the focus a “revolution in underwater technologies.”
- miniaturized – weighing 3.75 pounds at a length of 2.5 feet;
- vertical dive capability;
- ability to operate as both a UUV (diving underwater) and a USV (on the surface);
- 164-feet dive-depth;
- wireless data feedback upon surfacing;
- high accuracy temperature (+/-0.1℃) and pressure sensor (+/- 2cm depth);
- additional sensor payloads available.
Earlier this year, Aquabotix announced the release of the Integra AUV/ROV (autonomous underwater vehicle/remotely operated vehicle) that allows users to conduct multiple underwater missions, while providing a cost-efficient alternative to deploying separate AUVs and ROVs for individualized tasks.
The Integra is equipped with configurable sensor arrays and can be deployed by a single user. Aquabotix officials say the AUV is ideal for scientific research, inspections or law-enforcement/defense ops.
Most drone companies focus on aerial UAVs; however, aquatic drones are diving into a growing sector targeted towards marine-based companies and researchers.
- At CES 2017, PowerVision Robot Corporation unveiled the PowerRay, an underwater drone designed to improve freshwater, saltwater or ice fishing for both casual and recreational anglers.
- In 2016, Fathom, a Michigan-based start-up, launched development of an aquatic, football-shaped drone with a model that can connect with a smart device to gather video or images underwater.
- In 2015, Search Systems Ltd., a leading UAV manufacturer in the UK, developed the Mariner 600, an unmanned multicopter with aquatic landing capability and interchangeable aerial and marine camera views.