At last year's Disrupt SF, SeaDrone made it to the Battlefield finals with its simple, robust, and affordable underwater drone. With a few customers and a year of feedback under their belts, the engineers behind the robo-sub are putting out a version 2.0 with a few improvements.
The company's pitch is basically an alternative to using expensive, professionally-piloted remotely operated vehicles for things like ship inspections and other underwater tasks. The SeaDrone is portable, easily piloted from an iPad, and its path and camera can be automated for frequently repeated jobs.
One of the things I was most impressed by originally was the propulsion, which the company's founders engineered themselves. Their thrusters were already smaller and more efficient than off the shelf components, but somehow they found a way to improve them even further. Its top speed has increased by 20 percent — you still won't be winning any races, but it means the job gets done that much faster.
It's also important that the craft remains stable while it stays in place shoots images, of course, and to that end its battery has been shifted from the top to the bottom. Turns out being top-heavy matters underwater, too — co-founder Eduardo Moreno said this change vastly improved stability and made the SeaDrone considerably easier to control.
Interested fishermen and boat lovers should inquire at the SeaDrone website for more specifics.