Advanced Navigation has launched Hydrus, an AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) that combines state-of-the-art navigation, sonar and communication capabilities with a 4K 60fps camera in a highly compact form factor. Hydrus is designed to simplify underwater data collection and inspection, and is targeted at applications requiring high-resolution images and video with precise geo-referenced data.
Hydrus does away with the need for more expensive ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) and underwater robotics, survey vessels, and highly trained operators and divers. The flexible and easy-to-use system allows users to plan missions in three dimensions without specific technical training, and acoustic communication capabilities allow missions to be monitored and adjusted on the fly.
Hydrus is small enough to be carried on a plane, and can be launched and retrieved by a single person. A 4K 60 FPS camera coupled with powerful lighting ensures high quality video and photography. An AI image processing system dynamically balances camera settings and lighting, and compensates for turbidity, even in the most challenging conditions. Upon mission completion, data can be wirelessly retrieved using a computer.
Hydrus also features dynamic AI guidance with obstacle avoidance, altitude control and image quality control. It integrates a USBL, DVL, INS, acoustic and optical modems all tightly coupled into one compact package. Proprietary hubless thrusters prevent impellers from getting jammed with ropes or seaweed. The fully sealed, connectorless design makes the system extremely reliable and low-maintenance.
Hydrus can undertake missions of up to 3 hours duration, has a range of 9 km, with a maximum speed of 4 knots and a 3,000 m (10,000 ft) depth rating.
Xavier Orr, CEO and co-founder of Advanced Navigation, commented: “We have seen a revolution occur in the aerial drone market, where smaller, easy to use drones have opened new opportunities in applications previously restricted by cost. Hydrus is intended to offer the same accessibility to the underwater world.”