Drones aren’t a new phenomenon, but underwater drones are as yet an unexplored area. It’s definitely a niche area, but one that appears to have some momentum among some companies here at CES Asia 2017. Power Vision, a Chinese UAV company, has one such product called the PowerRay.
Essentially, the PowerRay underwater drone serves two purposes. It is first and foremost an underwater drone, fitted with a 12MP camera sensor that records 4K footage – but can even stream 1080p footage in real time. The sensor is also capable of shooting burst photos at 5fps, and has support for up to 128GB of storage.
Interestingly, Power Vision also partnered with Zeiss, the legendary optics specialists, to create a VR headset that will be available only with the PowerRay. While it looks just like any other VR headset, we’re told that this headset, called the VR One Plus, uses Zeiss lenses, as well as the same high-quality foam used in professional ski masks for comfort and durability.
Users can then stream footage from the PowerRay underwater drone in real time using the Power Vision app, which is capable of streaming footage to multiple VR headsets simultaneously. Of course, the app also lets you control the drone, though more precise control can be done using the remote control and mount, which even supports tablets.
Finally, the PowerRay underwater drone has a depth range of 30m – though it has been tested to go as deep as 50m. It has a temperature tolerance of -10°C to 50°C, a max cruise speed of 3-4 Knots (2m/s). Its 6,400mAh batter has a sail time of one to four hours, depending on cruise speed (1hr high speed, 2hr medium, 4hr low). It also connects to the app via 2.4GHz WiFi direct.
The second purpose of the PowerRay underwater drone is as a fishing tool. The PowerRay also comes in Search and Master Editions, which come with more hardware including a detachable FishFinder add-on, a 70m communications cable, and a Precision Remote Bait Drop.
The FishFinder add-on can be attached to the PowerRay underwater drone, but can also be used on its own. As its name suggests, the FishFinder has an array of sensors that lets it collect data on water temperature, depth, underwater landscape, and fish distribution with the sonar sensor. These data is relayed via WiFi to the mobile app.
It all certainly makes the PowerRay underwater drone a very interesting proposition, and the best part is it is already available for sale in China. The not so best part? It will set you back by quite a pretty penny. The standard Explorer Edition (with only the drone) costs a cool 9988 Yuan (about RM6,270), while the Search Edition (with FishFinder, Precision Remote Bait Drop, and FishFinder Charging Line) retails for 13,999 Yuan (about RM8,790).
The Master Edition adds the Zeiss VR One Plus headset and a 70m communications cable on top of everything in the Search Edition for just 14,988 Yuan (about RM9,410).
More information can be found in the PowerRay underwater drone product page here.