The murky depths of the world’s oceans have long remained a mystery, defying efforts to explore their uncharted terrains. That’s all about to change. During a recent event in Sydney, Advance Navigation unveiled the Hydrus—a submersible drone that can reach depths of 3,000 metres and has a range of nine kilometres. Best of all, the Aussie-designed Hydrus can be used to monitor the Great Barrier Reef, while also building maps of world ocean heritage sites, inspecting underwater infrastructure and revealing the hidden details of earth’s least explored regions.
Equipped with a 4K 60FPS camera, the Hydrus doesn’t just capture images, it records cinema-quality video as well as still images. It can operate in low light and can even record geo-referenced footage. Advance Navigation spared no efforts in building the quality of this drone. Advance Navigation CEO and co-founder, Xavier Orr, reported that the drone’s built-in camera and sensor rival those of any modern high-end digital cameras. The quality does come at a price—specifically AUD$55,000.
“We’ve seen a revolution take place in the aerial drone industry, 10-15 years ago, only qualified experts could fly drones. Today, drones are simple and reliable enough that anyone can use them – which is why we’re seeing them in countless industries,” Orr said.
“Looking at underwater technology, we want the same thing to happen. At the moment, underwater vehicles require specialist knowledge and training to be used effectively. We’ve developed Hydrus to ensure professional-grade underwater imagery and data is accessible to everyone, enabling greater opportunities across the ocean, whether it’s inspecting offshore wind farms, capturing undersea cinematography or monitoring coral reefs.”
In addition to the footage and images the Hydrus can capture, it can also create point and click 3D map interfaces using its onboard AI. Considering all that this drone can do, it’s a bit surprising to find out that the drone is only just larger than a football. It is constructed of a tough polymer, and the combination of the size and material allows the Hydrus to reach unparalleled depths as well as explore tight areas, such as reefs. In fact, Advanced Navigation describes the Hydrus as “the most advanced navigation and communication systems of any subsea vehicle”.
Researchers will appreciate the data about those reefs and their accompanying life that can be gathered by the Hydrus. Underwater structures and infrastructure can also be monitored and inspected using Hydrus. Revealing the mysteries of the uncharted depths is just the beginning of what can be accomplished using the Hydrus underwater drone. Pricing may exclude amateurs, but advances in technology like this make it possible for all to be able to use it in the very near future, making Hydrus a pioneer in terms of exploration and innovation.