Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI, commercial drone manufacturer PRODRONE, and underwater robotics firm QYSEA Technology have unveiled the world’s first Sea-Air Integrated Drone during a flight showcase at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise, Yokohama.
The drone aims to modernize offshore and marine operations with its intelligent capabilities, high working efficiency, and minimized manpower requirement.
The sea-to-air drone features a combination of a heavy-duty aerial drone and QYSEA’s industrial-class FIFISH PRO V6 PLUS Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The project was originally set out by KDDI six years ago, when the company had sought to combine advanced mobile communication networks with drone technologies that would deliver extended flying distances and lengths.
The technological achievement between KDDI and QYSEA has resulted in the first commercial drone capable of operating seamlessly through land, sea, and air. Through long-range mobile communications, the drone is operated remotely to fly to its preset route at sea. After landing at its designated location, the FIFISH ROV is released and deployed to work.
The pilot is then able to remotely operate with the ROV from a safe working location, and perform a variety of inspection, maintenance, and repair work underwater.
FIFISH PRO V6 PLUS is a compact ROV that has a diving depth of 150 meters, an intelligent interface to add on a variety of professional tools, and the all-new integration of a Q-motor stabilization system, small-scale underwater operations can be fully optimized. It delivers 6 degrees of freedom, allowing the operator to achieve any posture and angle of movement. With the intelligent distance and altitude lock systems, the ROV adapts to unpredictable environments and operates with boosted stability.
In offshore wind power, the Sea-Air Integrated Drone can be deployed to perform complex inspections and maintenance work on its frames and foundations to greatly reduce human risks. In the world of aquaculture, the drone can fly out to monitor its livestock and crops, as well as perform maintenance and repair work through the ROV’s multitude of add-on tools. Other marine-based applications include operations involving search and recovery, hull inspections, and various other subsea infrastructures.