By Diego Marcano
BU News Service
LAS VEGAS – After three years of development, the french startup Notilo Plus launched the iBubble, which they claim to be the first wireless, underwater drone. It is scheduled to ship to the U.S. market in a week from now.
The drone comes with an AI system that offers full autonomy and self-learning capabilities. The iBubble can avoid obstacles and follow the user underwater. Thanks to its underwater tracking system, it can also become a personal underwater camera.
“One of our objectives is to work with scientists and oceanologists to document our environment and study it because scuba-diving is at risk because of the global warming,” said Benjamin Valtin, Co-Founder and Vice President of Sales at Notilo Plus.
The drone can operate at a maximum distance of 82 feet from the diver holding the controller and with its sonar system it can calculate distances and film what the diver is seeing or it can film the diver from several angles thanks to its movement tracking system.
The drone has a slot to attach a waterproof action camera and it moves at 5 feet per second. It can also go into depths of up to almost 200 feet. It is equipped with a battery that lasts an hour underwater and a security measure that will make it float in case of malfunctioning.
The product may appeal to scuba-divers, researchers and journalists covering nature. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that the general consumer will acquire it due to its high price. The iBubble underwater drone started selling for $4,499. An improved model, the Explorer Edition, sells for $5,199 and its most advance underwater drone costs $6,999.
iBubble will be available in Boston, at East Coast Divers, a scuba-diving store in Brookline.