Aerial drones are great for providing a bird’s eye view of our world. That said, some people are more interested in seeing a fish’s eye view of their local seacoast or lake. Previously, such folks had to build their own underwater remote-operated vehicle (ROV). Three years ago, San Francisco startup OpenROV made things a little easier for them, by offering an ROV kit that users put together themselves. Now, the company is crowdfunding the fully-assembled Trident ROV, which can reportedly be "flown" through the water.
In our latest review video, Loz scoots over to Lake Tahoe, California, where the Deepflight team is testing its new personal submersible. Shaped like Speed Racer's Mach 5, the Deepflight Dragon is actually an upside-down manned quadcopter capable of going 400 feet (122 m) underwater – and Deepflight claims it's so easy to fly that any fool can do it, even though it's not finished yet. We'll see about that!
The team at U-Boat Worx (UBW) has produced a number of futuristic-looking, submersible craft designs over the years, including the Ferrari-esque HP Sport Sub 2 and the superyacht-friendly Sub 3. The latest addition – the C-Researcher – is claimed to be the world’s first fully-transparent, 3-person underwater craft capable of diving to the formidable depth of 1,700 meters (5,577 feet).
When you get an opportunity to go fly a 1.5 million dollar electric personal submarine that looks like a Formula One car, but operates like a quadcopter in reverse, on beautiful Lake Tahoe, California, damnit you take that opportunity. Even when you're ten pounds heavier than the maximum weight it's designed to handle. Even when the sub's stabilization software isn't finished yet and the team is still in preliminary testing. Gizmag joins pioneering submarine engineer Graham Hawkes to drive the Deepflight Dragon, a submarine so idiot-proof even Loz Blain can drive it.
Boeing has been given a patent for a new kind of amphibious drone that's like something straight out of a classic spy movie. The aeronautics giant has a novel design for an unmanned aerial drone that can spontaneously convert into an unmanned submarine and go for a dive.
Unlike most other sea creatures, sea lions use their forelimbs
instead of a tail for propulsion. They also leave virtually no wake as
they travel through the water. With an eye towards applying this design
to human technology, George Washington University professor of
mechanical and aerospace engineering Megan Leftwich has developed a
robotic sea lion flipper.
When we caught up with French high flyer Stephane Rousson at the Paris Green Air Show 5 years ago, in addition to showing off his helium-filled Zeppy 3 sail balloon, he also detailed a pedal-powered personal submarine called the Scubster. In 2011, the Scubster team took part in the International Submarine Race at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in the US, and managed to snag an Innovation Award. Now Rousson and designer Minh-lôc Truong have launched an electric version of the single pilot carbon fiber sub on Kickstarter.
The deep sea is the new frontier for mining, oil exploration, and other industrial activities as they leave the continental shelves for areas miles beneath the ocean surface. Along with this comes greater dangers to the environment, which will require constant monitoring. To provide the needed eyes, Britain's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and partners are developing the BRIDGES Glider. As Europe’s first ultra-deep-sea robot glider, the craft is capable of reaching 75 percent of the world's oceans to depths of up to 5,000 meters.
While there are plenty of aerial drones that show us our surroundings
from up in the air, there are far fewer remote-control devices that let
us see what's lurking beneath the surface of the water. Although the Aquabotix Hydroview
is one, at around US$3,000 it certainly isn't cheap. While still not
inexpensive, the newest version of the TTRobotix Seawolf is considerably
less pricey – partly because it incorporates the user's existing GoPro
Until the 1960s, Japan's three I-400-class subs were the largest submarines ever built. They were so large, in fact, that they could each carry and launch three Aichi M6A Seiran amphibious aircraft. The idea was that the submarines could stealthily bring the planes to within striking distance of US coastal cities, where they could then take off and conduct bombing runs. Now, for the first time since it was scuttled at the end of World War II, one of the sunken subs' aircraft hangars has been photographed.