OpenROV is an underwater robotics startup, and their latest product is Trident, a remote-controlled, camera-equipped underwater drone. It’s the fastest one they’ve made yet, with the founders claiming it can go as fast as 5 mph underwater. Trident can swim in long, straight lines, but it is also capable of precise maneuvers. It can quickly stop and perform moves in tight spaces using a game controller similar to that of PlayStation. Trident can hover over objects or change depth or direction without pitching at high or low speed. The fact that it can dive below 100 meters—the technical limit for human divers—and that it can stop exactly where you want to further explore a sunken structures such as a ship is a boon to underwater exploration. Its camera is capable of live streaming, and people from OpenROV are exploring the application of virtual reality to even add more to the underwater exploration experience. The team believes that such an application would be great for educating students in marine science or oceanography.
OpenROV started out as a project among friends to reach the bottom of an underwater mystery. Legend has it a group of Native Americans had dumped a bunch of gold at the bottom of a well, deep within the Hall City cave in Hayfork, California back in the 1800’s. The founders have yet to reach that well’s bottom, but the project allowed them to start a company that makes simple, lower-cost underwater drone DIY kits available for everyone. OpenROV finished its Kickstarter campaign for Trident, raking in $800,000. Their headquarters are in Berkley where they design, manufacture, ship, and support the robots.