This $3000 deep-diving drone can be controlled like a video game

The Blueye Robotics Pioneer underwater drone bridges the gap between professional-grade remote operated vehicles (ROV) and remote control toys. Most professional-grade ROVs cost $5,000 to $10,000; the Pioneer comes with everything you need to get started for $3,000.

The Blueye Pioneer has a deep diving range, up to 150 meters – that’s eight times deeper than the best human SCUBA divers can go. It also comes equipped with an HD camera (1080p at 30fps) designed to work well in low light situations and provide low-latency video streaming.

Credit: Blueye

The unit doesn’t require you to buy an on-board base-station; you can control the device with a video game controller or an app on your smartphone. The ROV was designed to be used with a digital diver’s mask for a full immersion experience.

Credit: Blueye

The CEO of Blueye, Eric Dyrkoren, says the company’s mission is to create a high-end submersible ROV for consumers:

We wanted to make this technology available to many more people, we’ve been focusing on the design, the control system, and the camera. It’s like playing a video game. It’s very easy to use and the video streaming is in real-time, we have very low-latency.

The drone weighs less than 18 pounds so you won’t need a team to help you deploy it. The device can be tossed into the water from a pier, tied off to a buoy, or even deployed from the bow of a fishing boat.

It’s been tested and proven to be resilient. It was developed for use in the arctic waters around Norway. It works just fine under ice.

The Pioneer has been through numerous trials and Dyrkoren is confident it will begin shipping next year. You can pre-order one on the Blueye Robotics website now.

Credit: Blueye

Underwater drones have been a relatively unapproachable gadget compared to their flying counter-parts. Hopefully Blueye Robotics’ new device changes that.

The Pioneer is shaping up to be the best submersible ROV for under $5,000. When it releases next year we’ll see if manages to hold its own in the deep-end.