Torrance, Calif. startup Blue Robotics has launched what it is calling the “world’s most affordable inspection- and research-class subsea vehicle.”
The BlueROV2 is a high-performance yet affordable remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that leverages a six-thruster vectored configuration typically only seen in higher-end vehicles, meaning the new ROV is smooth, stable and highly maneuverable, its manufacturer said.
Available in a number of configurations, a standard BlueROV2 kit costs approximately $3,000 and provides a platform to attach scientific equipment, film cinematographic quality shots and explore the oceans down to a depth of 100 meters – with a price tag markedly lower than those of similar vehicles.
“From day one, our goal has been to make marine robotics accessible to more people and businesses than ever before,” said the company’s founder, Rustom Jehangir.
Since launching its first product, a low-cost underwater thruster motor, through a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, Blue Robotics has gone on to steadily release a line of new marine robotics products ranging from watertight pressure enclosures to depth sensors and underwater lights.
Now, with the BlueROV2 underwater drone, the company has debuted its “new flagship product – a fusion of all of our other products and efforts,” according to Jehangir.
“We’re able to make the BlueROV2 at a fraction of the cost of similar vehicles thanks to many of the same technologies that have made aerial drones affordable,” Jehangir explained. That includes the use of the open-source Pixhawk autopilot as well as a Raspberry Pi computer.
Blue Robotics said that the BlueROV2’s low price will enable wider use of subsea vehicles for many people including universities, research organizations, small businesses, hobbyists and first responders.
“We know there are a lot of people out there with an urge to explore the ocean,” Jehangir said, “and the BlueROV2 is a tool to help them do so.”
The BlueROV2 comes as a partially assembled kit that is simple to build and requires several hours of user assembly. It is available for reservation now and will begin shipping out to customers from August 2016.