CCROV’s 4K underwater robot drone documents the denizens of the deep without getting your toes wet


posted Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 5:59 AM EST


Even for amateur photographers, the sky is quite literally the limit these days as a raft of clever robot drones have taken our cameras -- and our passion for photography -- aloft. But there's another frontier which remains the preserve of the specialists: Deep-ocean diving. Now, a new robot drone of a very different kind from Chinese startup CCROV promises to lower the barrier to entry for underwater photography and videography.

Relatively few details are yet available on the CCROV underwater robot, and perhaps most significantly its pricetag. But if it's even relatively affordable, that's going to be great news for fans of shooting beneath the surface, because its said to be capable of diving well beyond the limits of recreational divers. In fact, it should even be able to venture well into technical diving territory at depths where human divers would require special breathing gas mixtures and lengthy decompression stops to prevent them succumbing to the bends. (And if the product sells well, we'd expect to see prices come down eventually just as they have for aerial drones, perhaps bringing truly capable submersible camera platforms within reach of the common man.)

The CCROV underwater robot is said to be crafted from aluminum alloy, and is waterproof to depths of 100 meters. With dimensions of 8.2 x 8.0 x 5.1 inches and a weight of 9.9 pounds, it's small enough to fit in a backpack along with its remote control unit and, we presume, its tether, through which it communicates with the surface. Through an array of four horizontal and two vertical thrusters, it can hold itself in position or travel on five axes, moving forwards / backwards, left / right or up / down, and yawing or rolling left / right. A fixed 4K camera and an array of four LED lights on its front surface allow the CCROV to shoot ultra high-definition footage underwater, and also to provide a remote live-view stream to a phone running the CCROV app. The submersible can be controlled either through the app or with a dedicated remote control, and is also compatible with first-person view and virtual reality headsets.


No pricing is yet available for the CCROV, and nor do we yet know when it will go on sale. However, its maker says that it has created a first round of prototypes, tested them to a simulated depth of 100 meters, and is ready to start ramping up for mass production. This next step will also see CCROV listed as a project on crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, which is presumably where you'll get your first chance to get your hands on one.

Whether it will live up to its promise remains to be seen, but if it arrives at a suitable price-point and is reasonably easy to control, it could perhaps democratize the deep in much the same way that unmanned aerial vehicles have done the skies. That's a very exciting prospect indeed!