After several years of continued success in the realm of underwater exploration, the OpenROV Trident is giant leap ahead for what basically is the first mass-market underwater drone. You’ve probably heard of aerial drones taking over the news and causing havoc all over the country, but the underwater space was much harder to explore, until now.
We love remotely operated vehicles here on Reef Builders but the OpenROV Trident looks like the first device of its kind that many of us could consider buying and using. The OpenROV was the first truly affordable ROV for the masses, with an open source hardware and software architecture that inspired a flourishing community of developers to contribute to the project.
The OpenROV Trident is the second Kisktarter project for OpenROV and it blew past its initial goal of $50,000 in just under an hour! It’s easy to see why the OpenROV is resonating so poignantly with current and potential new users. Unlike previous ROVs, including the first OpenROV, the Trident is specially designed to travel long distances, to go fast, and to “fly” through the water leaving all other ROVs in the dust.
The Trident ROV is a tethered underwater drone with a hydrodynamic shape that allows it to travel 2 meters per second, or about 4.5 miles per hour, with a newly optimized battery and electronics package that can run for up to three hours on a single charge. Like any good drone the Trident has an onboard HD camera for a live view of what is in front of the drone, with powerful LED ‘headlights’ to illuminate the dark depths of the sea or underwater caves.
Besides all of its hardware prowess, what truly makes the Trident underwater drone shine is its ease of use. Previous versions of ROVs required fairly complex controls, and skilled piloting of the ROV’s various thrusters. The Trident Drone busts through the steep learning curve by creating an intuitive control system which anyone can use.
The Trident has an operating depth of 100 meters, or 330 feet so we can see this sophisticated machine being used to explore and discover reefs that are either inaccessible, or require dangerous diving to reach. The first round of $599 Trident ROVs have already sold out, but there’s still the $799 Kickstarter level which is a steep discount from the $1199 price that the Trident will have when it goes on regular sale next year. [KickStarter]