Ever been inspired by the tale of Captain Nemo, or wanted to explore under the ocean? Well, with the Blueye Robotics Pioneer underwater drone you can.

The Blueye Robotics Pioneer underwater drone is what’s called a ‘prosumer’ device and the price tag of $3,300AUD tells you why.

That price tag gets you a lot of hardware with the Pioneer capable of travelling up to 150 metres below the surface at 2 m/s (4 knots in nautical terms) for up to 2 hours. The drone is tethered and self stabilising with a built-in FullHD resolution camera that lets you see what’s going on down deep with powerful LEDs lighting up the ‘midnight zone’ as my son likes to call it.

Christine Spiten, Blueye co-founder and Chief global strategist will be putting the Blueye Pioneer to work here in Australia spending several days in Cairns with Great Barrier Reef Legacy , a not-for-profit organisation focused on the long terms survival of the reef.

Dr Dean Miller from Great Barrier Reef Legacy will be using the drone on a 21-day expedition to explore the Reef’s most remote, unexplored reaches and assess the region’s declining coral reef corridor. Dr Miller said

Researchers have been unable to fully assess what is happening to the most pristine part of the northern Great Barrier Reef so, we are looking forward to using the Blueye’s Pioneer drone to help us better understand the changing nature of this fragile ecosystem especially on the deeper slopes where divers simply cannot access. This gives us a whole new way of understanding how the whole ecosystem has responded to heat stress and will provide the first detailed look at deeper coral habitats.

The drone is controlled with a wireless drone controller for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, with a number of mobile devices able to connect to the transmission box to view the FullHD footage from underneath the surface. A digital dive mask, a VR headset, with full smartphone resolution provides what Blueye call a ‘realistic underwater virtual reality experience’.

It’s early days for the underwater drone category, it’s where aerial drones were at the very start. A few years later and even your basic model aerial drones are cheap, and accessible to most consumers. For now though, if you’re interested in getting in on underwater drones it’s going to cost you.

The Blueye Robotics Pioneer is available to pre-order now with units shipping in Q1 2018. You can head over to the Blueye Robotics website to check it out, and pre-order.

Source: Blueye Robotics.