Drones are all the rage right now, buzzing above our heads with with our without human interaction. We have all seen scenes shot in birds eye views from flying drones. Now, a Norwegian company has decided to take drones from the skies to the sea, and build a drone meant for exploring the oceans depths.
Blueye Robotics is a Trondheim based hardware startup who plans to change how people experience the ocean. Currently they are in the alpha phase with a working prototype, and by the end of the year they will launch a model that can go for sale in a small batch, with a public version planned to hit the market in 2017.
Blueye’s goal is to create an easy-to-use solution that requires no special knowledge and can be lunched into the water in just minutes.
The project was founded summer 2015 by Erik Dyrkoren, Erik Haugane, and professors at NTNU.
“It’s a cool version of underwater drones,” says CEO and co-founder Erik Dyrkoren.
The current model is equipped with strong thrusters, which allow the vehicle to submerge significant depths and to move quickly through ocean currents. The control system that runs on the hardware is based on competence from thee world-leading research centers in autonomous marine operations and systems (AMOS) at NTNU in collaboration with the Blueye team.
First prototype for expedition highlighting ocean pollution
Erik states that they will deliver the highest quality underwater drone experience. Besides the rest of his team, Blueye has resources from the leading robotics universities from around the world through their network. Thanks to this, they have been able to rapidly develop.
“The first prototype was constructed in only 10 weeks!” says Erik. The very fast pace was due to a an November 2015 sailing expedition crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to Brazil, where co-founder and project engineer Christine Spiten was a member of the women’s crew. The expedition, which included biologists, toxicologists, doctors, and sailors, undertook the journey to highlight the problem of ocean pollution.
In the long term, the team plans to make the hardware even more user friendly, with customizable peripherals that will be attached to open “ports” on the drone.
It remains to be seen how Blueeye will perform on the rough waters of competition. There might be place for more than just one kind drone in the seven seas.