Aquatic Drones: Underrated, Underwater Applications

Whilst Amazon is taking e-commerce to the heavens and Facebook is connecting the world with WiFi drones, aquatic drones and the companies building them have been the unsung heroes of real industrial application and execution in the marine world.

As it is with the UAV market; marine robot and drone models have been created both for industrial and consumer use. When you consider that shipping is still the dominant industry for the global transportation of goods it is odd to think of aquatic drones as a new niche market, but it is growing and so is shipping.

Deep Trekker is a company that designs and sells unique tethered underwater ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) to a range of clients from hobbyists to scientific researchers, fisheries and even the military, the ROV’s give untrained users access to areas that even professional divers cannot reach.

Deep Trekker’s latest ROV the DT640 Utility Crawler, is used to manoeuvre across a ship’s hull with magnetic wheels and is capable of determining a metal’s thickness and integrity with a probe arm, the unit is also available with a pressure washer, vacuum and scraper attachment.

At the other end of the spectrum of marine robotics innovation is Ziphius, a buoyant ball of fun developed in the magical waters of The Azores and funded by Kickstarter. Ziphius only travels above water rather than below and can be controlled with a smart phone or tablet to follow you and your friends around the water then upload the footage to social media.

Units like Ziphius and the fish catcher drone ‘PowerRay’, may seem ridiculous for industrial tasks but do offer genuine (if limited) use case value when considering current industry grade aquatic drones are the size and shape of large torpedos which is a real problem when operating in tense international waters. However, just as it is with aerial drones, the primary value for these aquatic drones is there ability to take dangerous tasks away from humans. Human safety is the precise motivation behind one of the most exciting future projects for the shipping industry: The world’s first ship tunnel.

An estimated 33 people have been killed in numerous maritime incidents in the volatile waters of north west Norway off the coast of Stadlandet since World War 2.  Manoeuvring colossal passenger and freight vessels along the rocky inlets is a treacherous task in the most pleasant weather conditions. Drafted for completion in 2029 the Norwegian Coastal Administration will be boring through over 8 million tonnes of rock at the narrowest point of the peninsula and out the other side. The innovative solution for such a huge industry is inspiring and motivates us here at Unmanned Life in our future endeavours in the shipping industry.

Autonomous Drones-as-a-Service for the Shipping Industry

Unlike Deep Trekker, Ziphius and PowerRay, Unmanned Life will not be using aquatic remote controlled units to add value to the future of the shipping industry but autonomous software controlled fleets. Our software allows normal commercial drones to communicate with one another and work in autonomous fleets for industrial applications, currently we are using this software to allow UGV’s and UAV’s to transport packages across warehousing facilities. In the future we have plans to implement a ship-to-shore service where fleets of autonomous drones can secure a ships inventory without the need to dock.

Follow our journey as we branch out and deliver our Autonomous Drones-as-a-Service for multiple industrial applications. If you would like to request you own demo for your business please send us a message here: