Drone sales have soared sky high in recent years, with approximately 3 million sold in 2017, giving photographers access to unprecedented aerial imagery. From enthusiastic amateurs to Olympic opening ceremonies, flying drones have become a familiar feature, but new technology is going deeper. Building on earlier underwater drone concepts, CES 2019 showcased enhanced underwater drones which can be used for thrill seekers, environmentalists and researchers alike.
Among the underwater drones unveiled at CES was Navatics’ Mito drone, equipped with a 4k camera, advanced stabilization and the ability to live-stream footage to your smartphone. Other highlights included Geneinno’s Titan, which features a robotic arm and the ability to dive the deepest, down to 492 feet. Combining pleasure and scientific discovery was PowerVision’s Power Dolphin, which can not only take stunning photography but is also equipped with sonar and GPS features which enable it to draw world-first underwater topographic maps.
For the consumer market, underwater drones can help to capture breathtaking footage for divers, boaters and underwater explorers. With 40% of millennials keen to capture Insta-friendly experiences, underwater drone footage opens new possibilities. Imagine live-streaming discoveries within the crystal waters of Havelock Islands, or creating a picture collage of stunning coral and aquatic life from your travels. This new tech allows photographers to capture previously unseen moments and share them with a wider audience, delighting and educating in equal measure.
One huge impact of underwater drone innovation is an important role drones can play in conservation. In addition to the consequences of climate change, environmentalists predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. As consumers and campaigners turn the spotlight on to the world’s oceans, underwater drone footage is likely to play a powerful role in capturing the devastation to marine life. It may even become possible to deploy drones such as the Titan to help clear plastic waste with its robotic arm.
This recent innovation in photography tech has the power to not only capture stunning footage for leisure use, but also to make a real impact in the next generation’s conservation efforts. Underwater drones can also add real value to the research and preservation of marine life; it is estimated that humans have explored just 5% of the ocean floor, so these drones can enable vital discoveries. Photography that looks good and achieves good things too; that’s progress worth focusing on.