The world’s first wireless drone, ExRay has been unveiled, and it comes transforming the exploration of the underwater world.
Credits to light technology and the Swiss startup Hydromea, that we have the world’s first wireless underwater drone, leaving the hassle of operating through heavy cables behind.
Even with all the technological advancements in underwater ROVs, the tether system is still in use. The underwater tech remained connected to the ground using communication cables, however, that has been changed with the latest introduced technology in ExRay, which makes use of light in place of the old-fashioned tethering technique.
Radio waves are not good at traveling through water, and that is why traditional underwater drones used long cables to connect to surface-located operators which send the commands down to an ROV, which then relays back a video. Some of the ROV models are even powered through long cables which aren’t as convenient as the light system would be.
The reeled cables are a hassle to control along controlling the ROV, they are heavy and could snag on underwater objects as a result of which the underwater drone could be lost. However, this concern no longer stands with the latest ExRay unveiled that would function using light.
The first prototype is powered using Hydromea’s existing Luma Underwater Communications System, which allows transmitting binary data through the water via rapid pulses of light. This concept was explored earlier, however, it never got incorporated into an underwater ROV.
Hydromea claimed that the ExRay would be good to go at a depth of 100 (328 ft) for now, given some constraints regarding low levels of light and with the increase in turbidity levels. However, the said that number is to be increased as the tech gets developed further. Moreover, the ExRay drone is developed with intentions to inspect ships as an enclosed-space task, which makes it that long-range isn’t an issue at this point.
The new underwater drone is 70 cm long, weighs 7 kg, and packs seven Hubble thrusters that allow the vehicle for six-degrees-of-freedom maneuverability. ExRay is an all-in-one package underwater drone for inspections, it comes with a zoom-capable HD camera and also contains dual LED spotlights and a battery that makes it good to go for about 6-8 hours.
Check out the first of its kind wireless underwater drone in the video below.