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About ten years ago, we could hardly imagine having personal drones as toys or research tools that could go underwater and still produce awesome photos while the research team or owner would still be capable of controlling them. However, the advent of new technology in underwater drone has turned this unbelievable dream into a reality. In fact, a few of these underwater drones have the ability to hover in the air after getting to the surface of the water, and then dive back in to capture out-of-this-world footage.
The Best Underwater Drones Price Table
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The Best Underwater Drones You Can Purchase
Are you thinking of buying an underwater drone? Here are the best underwater drones you should consider:
We start this list with the RoboSea BIKI. Propelled and steered by an actuating fin at the back of the system, the RoboSea BIKI is modeled after a real fish. With the use of a Wi-Fi connection and a compatible phone, this product can be controlled when it is on the surface of the water. The app for controlling the BIKI is compatible with both iOS and Android.
While you are controlling this product from the surface, you can enjoy a real-time video on the phone you are using for the control; however, if you want to get the most out of the 196-foot possible depth of this drone, you need to do away with the real-time camera feed and Wi-Fi control. Although you can designate a pre-determined route that the product will follow in the water, the real-time camera feed stops once the product goes under the water. Instantly, the recording will start on the 32GB in-built storage of the drone.
As an alternative, you have the option of utilizing the included remote that has the ability to control the BIKI when it is as deep as 32 feet below the water surface; nevertheless, just like when operating with the app, this mode does not have real-time video. Assisted in capturing scenes underwater by two sturdy lamps that are placed in the front of the product, the camera of this drone has the ability to record outstanding 4K video.
The product has a battery life of approximately one and a half hours; nevertheless, recharging the battery takes almost the same time. The lens that comes with the camera also offers the product an astonishing 150-degree field of view. By utilizing the wonderful video feeds of the BIKI, a scuba diver can be filmed impeccably.
Power Vision PowerRay
This product is designed by Power Vision which is a world-leading maker of drones and other unmanned vehicle technology products as well as virtual and augmented reality devices.
The PowerRay Wizard is undoubtedly one of the choicest underwater drones available for sales in the market today. Several features for treasure hunting, underwater exploration, and mapping are the basic parts of this product. For filmmaking projects and scientific studies, this product is commonly used.
A few of the exceptional features of this product are the 12 megapixels camera which allows 4K UHD video real-time streaming and recording of scenes under the water as deep as 98 feet. Since the footages are captured at the high-quality of 1080p, the video is suitable for commercial and recreation uses.
With the aid of the 210 feet long tether of this drone, you have the freedom of diving your drone to a depth that is unreachable for most divers. As a result of these stunning depth ratings, the Power Ray Wizard is the ideal choice for divers who do not have the ability to dive so deep.
The detachable PowerSeeker fish finder is another fantastic feature of this Power Ray Wizard. Capable of being used as a stand-alone tool, PowerSeeker fish finder offers you important fishing information such as the landscape, fish distribution, water temperature, and depth. Use the downloaded Power Ray Wizard app on your mobile device to read about these amazing features.
Also, this product has a precision remote bait drop that ensures that you can set your fish hook in a strategic position. Due to the availability of the remote bait drop and fish finder, this underwater drone is a perfect choice for people that love fishing.
A few of the other remarkable features of the Power Ray are the ZEISS VR One plus goggles that provides an immersive experience for divers, a wheeled carrying case, a 65GB memory card for keeping your footages, and strong batteries that last for a long time. This product is expensive to an extent.
ThorRobotics Underwater Drone
Like the other underwater drones on this list, this product is available on Amazon. However, unlike the Robosea BIKI, the ThorRobotics underwater drone is operated with a hardwired connection instead of a wireless one. Although the convenience and ease-of-use of this product are affected by this hardwired connection, the stability and connection bandwidth between the drone and user are significantly improved. Resultantly, irrespective of the depth you go, precise control and real-time video are guaranteed.
The 100-feet maximum depth of this underwater drone is accurately matched with a 30-meter cable. As the unit goes under the water, the cable ensures that the user enjoys precise control and gets amazing camera feed even when the drone is under the water; this is something that the wireless connection makes impossible for the BIKI. From the drone, the cable goes to the control center which is found in a long-lasting case and has a built-in monitor and controls.
There are four propellers in this underwater drone that are designed to guarantee steady movement at around 1.8 miles/hour with 2-hour battery life. While the submarine does not have a built-in camera, videos can be recorded by mounting a GoPro inside the device. Consequently, the type of GoPro you buy will play a pivotal role in determining the specs of the camera.
Weighing about 9 1/2 pounds, this product is quite bulky and strong. The chassis consists of a pair of sturdy 300-lumen headlights that provide light for the scenery under the water.
Sub-Mariner Camera by Sea Peep
When it comes to underwater drones for recreational purpose, the Sea Peep Submariner is the best product. At a relatively low price, the Sub-Mariner contains all essential features required for underwater footage.
This product has every feature that you can look out for in an RC submarine. Due to its awesome control and handling, you can easily maneuver any waters that you want to document. In addition to this, this product consists of a feeding arm that will bring the marine wildlife closer so that spectacular footage can be captured. The quality of the camera is astonishing as everything can be seen with so much clarity.
The Sub-Mariner has exceptionally intuitive controls. An easy-to-use and effective two-channel remote is used for operating it.
In addition to its fantastic features, this product features strong LED lighting that can be used for seeing effectively and clearly in the dark. While it is most excellent for use in pools and fish tanks, this underwater drone performs well in the lakes or ponds too.
If you are looking for a camera underwater that can serve you effectively for recreational uses, the Sea Peep Sub-Mariner should be your favorite option. Apart from the powerful HydroView, this drone is the best you can get today and it comes at a relatively affordable price.
Buyer’s Guide for Underwater Drone
Perhaps you would like to buy an underwater drone, certain things should be duly considered. Unlike the aerial quadcopter drones that have become commonly available, the technology of underwater drone is quite new to the consumers. Resultantly, each of these drones has a wide range of specifications which offers them varying degrees of advantages and disadvantages when compared against each other.
Foremost, you should give great considerations to factors such as the maximum depth and battery life. Consider the purposes of getting the drone. For instance, if you only need a device that can be used for snorkeling, a drone that cannot dive too deep into the water and can be controlled easily without being physically tethered to a controller will be perfect for you. However, you may have to invest in an underwater drone that can travel deep into the waters if your purpose of getting a drone is scuba diving.
A few underwater drones have different degrees of collision avoidance and autonomous control. If you want to be diving alone, these features must be importantly considered. In case you are not planning to have a dedicated camera operator on a regular basis, it is recommended that you get a drone that features an autonomous follow mode.
Having considered this, it is time we checked out various options for your underwater drone.
Typically, drones utilize three types of control inputs. The first type operates with the aid of a wireless connection; the second type involves a physical cable connection between the drone and the control unit while the third type can either be autonomous or operated by direct input. Your choice of a controller should be dependent on your targets and the level of your experience with using drones.
For individuals that have little experience and want something that is easy to control, a wireless controller is the best choice. The wireless models provide the simplest setup as well as very simple controls. Not only are these controls designed to provide full functionality, but they are also easy to use. Unreliability, instability and limited operating range under the water are the major disadvantages of the wireless connections.
The next type of controllers is the one that is physically tethered to the controller. With actual cables used for connecting the unit and controller instead of wireless connection, this type provides significantly higher bandwidth and more stable connections. Resultantly, unlike what is obtainable with the wireless connections, this physical tethering ensures that you can receive real-time footage even while completely under the water. As such, these types of RC subs are perfect if you are engaged in a task that demands real-time inspection of things happening around the drone such as inspection of the hulls of boats.
When compared to the wireless ones, wired controllers seem to be much more sophisticated in their control features, and while this sophistication is awesome for advanced users, it can be too complex for newbies. The operator will not only be able to control the movements of the drone, but also control camera gimbal that can be maneuvered on its own to capture engaging scenery and animals for a longer period without changing the direction of the drone.
Conclusively, we should consider the drones that feature autonomous functionality. If you want to be using the drone for diving without anyone to monitor the operation or control of the drone, this type is great. Anyone who has ever dived understands that diving itself involves lots of activities that are enough to keep you busy. Therefore, you could put yourself in difficulties or dangers by adding the control of the drone to your activities.
As a result of this, a few companies have created drones that suit this purpose. For instance, the iBubble is capable of following the user automatically without any control from anyone. As an alternative, a leash-like extension can be used for holding the drone so that you can guide it in front of you, as if you are controlling a dog. Any of these two options are awesome for anyone in need of a solo drone that can accompany them while diving.
When underwater, the quality of the camera is dependent on lots of factors. The resolution is not the only important thing; however, when taking footage under the water, the lenses found in front of the camera play essential roles too. The RoboSea BIKI comes with a built-in 4K resolution camera that boasts of a lens that ensures that you can film 150 degrees of the surroundings of the drone.
Nevertheless, the other two drones listed here do not have their own in-built cameras. You rather have to install your own GoPro camera; therefore, the camera you choose will play key roles in the quality of the video that will be captured. Consequently, let’s have a quick review of various GoPro cameras and the type you should endeavor to utilize in an underwater drone.
The Fusion and Session cameras are not fitting for the enclosures of underwater drones; hence, your options are limited to only cameras from the Hero product line. The Hero’s base model has the ability to film in 1080p or 1440p while both the Hero5 and Hero6 Black are capable of filming in extraordinary 4K. The difference between these two lies in that the Hero5 has the ability to run at just 30 frames per second while the Hero6 has the ability to film at 60 frames per second.
As a result of the higher frame rate, there will be an appearance of smoother movement of shots when fast-paced individuals or fish are being captured. Another important thing is that you can slow down the higher frame rate so that it can provide smooth motion shots that are slow. Similarly, both the Hero 5 and 6 Black can both record at 1080p and 1440p to ensure that either the storage space is saved or very high frame rate shots are taken for buttery smooth slo-mo.
How to Use Your RC Submarine to Capture Excellent Underwater Images
Capturing video and images underwater is harder than doing so above the water. Several factors can influence the quality of the images that you will get. For instance, murky water is capable of reducing the appeal of the image. Also, you experience another form of difficulty when it comes to controlling an RC submarine to capture images. We added some tips that can assist you in capturing photos and videos of the highest quality, irrespective of whether you inspecting marine wildlife or evaluating the bottom of your boat.
- Ensure you are as close as possible to the subject you are capturing or filming because murky water reduces the quality of the video or photo.
- In case your RC sub comes with a flash, it should be turned on. As an alternative, if it has LED lights or another form of the lighting system, ensure that you turn it on. When you are underwater, the environment will appear to be darker than it actually is. You can counteract this effect by utilizing lighting or flash.
- Rather than aiming down when you are capturing an image, take your shot from below the subject as this will provide an excellent image.
- Before trying to capture video or images, take your time to practice how to control the RC sub first. When you are more skilled with maneuvering through the water, you are more likely to take impeccable images or video.
- Understand how you can capture awesome video or image above water. Your knowledge of the basics of photography will play a pivotal role in taking a picture under the water.
- This is quite obvious; however, if there are multiple settings on your camera, ensure that you set it to the highest quality. A few cameras come with various quality settings, which can be as high as HD. Utilizing a higher resolution will definitely ensure that you get better picture quality.
- When using sunlight as the lighting for capturing footage, the picture or video should be taken within 20 feet of the surface. Also, ensure the sun is positioned at the back of the camera. The water is only penetrated deeply by the sunlight; thereby, ensuring that you are within a range that will offer great lighting.
FAQ About Underwater Drones
What is the mechanism behind underwater drones?
The way consumer underwater drones works is similar to how any unmanned vehicle works. Radio waves are not affected by water; therefore, an ordinary radio transmitter that is positioned above the water can still be used for controlling the drones. They come with underwater cameras and are distinctively waterproofed; therefore, making sure that there is no damage to the internal electronics.
What are the uses of underwater drones?
Underwater videography and photography are the major functions of the underwater drones that we are discussing here. The PowerRay Wizard is ideal for professional filming, and the photographic capabilities of the ROBOSEA BIKI are comparable. Amateur photographers or individuals who want to have fun by operating an RC sub below water can utilize the SilverLit SpyCam Aqua Submarine which is much cheaper.
Underwater drones that are utilized by the military would be most suitable for espionage but could be functional for transporting an explosive payload just like when operating military UAVs.
What are the materials used for manufacturing underwater drones?
Underwater drones are often manufactured with plastic and rubber which is sealed with care so that the delicate electronics are not penetrated and damaged by water.
It is expected that this article has shown you a few things about underwater drones, the way they work, and where you can buy one if you need it. This amazing field of drone technology is new, and we hope that it will develop more in the future. Perhaps you own a choicest RC submarine that was not mentioned here, please let’s know through your comments below.
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