We found something rather fabulous on YouTube. Niels Affourtit has taken his home-made underwater drone (or ROV – Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) from bathtub tests to real-world deployment in a great big lake somewhere in the Netherlands.
It’s a sophisticated build – the video below says that it uses an HD camera, the Raspberry Pi, some 3d-printed parts (propellers and a tilt system for the camera), a BOSCH BMP180 Atmospheric Pressure Sensor, and a ADXL345 Digital 3-Axis Gravity Acceleration Sensor. The whole assembly took around 250 hours and cost Niels €350. It’s been tested down to 12m, but is designed to go deeper. The unit updates a webpage with live data: tilt, roll, heading, temperature and internal pressure (leaks) sensor data are all displayed in real time.
The drone is currently controlled via an Ethernet cable that keeps it tethered, so at the moment it has a limited range. Fish-spotters can watch a feed from the drone’s camera here:
There are more examples of the drone being tested on Niels’ YouTube channel. Last May, he wrote this on YouTube:
On a documentary of National Geographic about the salvage of the Costa Concordia I saw a VideoRay for the first time. I was impressed and started searching online to see if I could build one myself. I ended up at openrov.com and decided to build mine from scratch using their knowledge. I started Christmas 2014 and here you see the maiden trip in a sweet water lake in the Netherlands last week.
It’s a lovely build – we hope Niels documents the process somewhere. Thanks very much, Niels!