Aquatic drone drops its camera to look for fish
When seeing an underwater drone for the first time, some people say “That would make a great fish-finder!”. The problem is, the device’s surface-located user can’t always tell where the drone is, relative to themselves. That’s where the Chasing F1 Fish Finder Drone comes in.
The gadget was created by Chinese company Chasing Innovation, which also manufactures the Gladius Mini, Dory and M2 underwater drones. It’s essentially a tiny buoy-shaped boat, that is wirelessly controlled via Wi-Fi (up to a distance of 30 m/98 ft) by an iOS/Android app on the user’s smartphone.
Its four thrusters allow it move forward, backward, sideways, or to pivot around on the spot. Utilizing a hook in the rear, it can also tow an optional sonar unit, or a remotely-activated bait dispenser.
Because the bright yellow top half of the F1 stays above the surface at all times, the user can always see where it is. Thanks to its GPS unit, they can also see its location on a map on the app. If it travels out of Wi-Fi range, it uses that GPS to automatically get itself back.
Whenever the user wants to look for fish, they just instruct the drone to lower its 1080p/30fps lead-weighted camera out of a compartment on its underside. Attached to an electrically reeled electrical cable, that camera sinks nose-down to a maximum of depth of 28 m (92 ft). Once the descent is remotely stopped by the user, the camera reverts to a horizontal orientation.
On the app screen, the user can then see what the camera sees – possibly including the sought-after fish. The depth and water temperature are additionally displayed. And if things are dark down there, the camera can also shoot infrared, assisted by a built-in infrared light.
Power is provided by a swappable 4,800-mAh lithium battery, that should be good for four to six hours of runtime per charge.
Dr. Hans C. Mumm