From Marine Technology Reporter
By Paul Unterweiser
The popularity and availability of aerial quad-copter drones have grown exponentially over the past few years. But, in large part because of the complexities that water penetration poses for electronics, underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have not experienced that same level of popularity. The technology required to fabricate the components for an ROV to explore beyond a few meters depth has been beyond the capabilities of all but a handful of companies who have mastered the skills. In many cases, those skills have been kept proprietary and the products have demanded high prices. Not long ago you needed well over $10,000 to consider buying even the smallest observation ROV. As mini ROVs have grown in capabilities, so have the prices to the point where a fully-capable mini ROV now costs in excess of $40,000. All that may soon change thanks to companies like Blue Robotics and its newly released BlueROV2. At first glance, the BlueROV2 is a vectored six thruster ROV, capable of depths of 100 meters in a kit form. But because every bit of the design, from the housings to thrusters to the firmware that controls it, is open to the public, the future and upgrade-ability of the design is virtually unlimited. This not only means that people with technical skills will be able to adapt the BlueROV2 to perform whatever new tasks they might be clever enough to design, but it also means that even the average user is free to source parts and enhancements (such as sonars) from whomever they want. This is an entirely new and potentially powerful approach to ROV design and marketing.
Full article here.
If you are not already familiar with Blue Robotics products, the BlueROV2 comes as a Standard kit that includes a Pixhwk1 or as an Advanced kit that includes a RPi as well as the Pixhawk1. The included ArduSub Open Source software has leveraged off of the successful and well developed Arducopter Open Source software and is presently in a rc3 release.
So if exploring the oceans or just your neighborhood pond or lake is of interest to you, here is a chance to build your own ROV from a kit or buy the necessary components to roll your own.
Tom C AVD