Meet the Gladius 4K Underwater Drone: Deep Sea Video in Full Ultra HD Glory
Stephan Jukic – March 23, 2017
We have to thin that a machine like the Gladius drone was pretty much inevitable. After first saturating the skies with flying drones, what else would the makers of these awesome little machines do but start thinking of the landscape beneath the 75% of the the world not covered by land? And since pretty much all major aerial drones come with 4K video recording at this point, well what else would the Gladius come with but a 4K camera of its own.
Thus, there you have it, now, just as you can send a little machine to fly above you in the skies just as if it were a tiny helicopter, so too can you now have your own personal submarine exploring beyond your body’s reach and recording everything it sees.
The Gladius Drone is as far as we know the first ever consumer market UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicle) to be able to do this and it deliver some pretty robust specs for its task. This little submersible drone can go down to depths of 100 meters (about 330 feet) with one variant of its remote control gear and with some optional accessories, this depth of tether also comes with a horizontal range of 500 meters, as long as the drone doesn’t descent below 100 meters of depth. The basic drone kit however comes with a tether of only 30 meters, or 100 feet.
This not-so-little drone basically looks just how you’d expect an underwater drone to look, with a lengthy, streamlined triple-tubed body in which the largest, central tube contains the camera, vertical thrusters and main electronic hardware and the two outside tubes contain forward thrusters. Obviously enough, as a piece of complex electronic machinery that’s designed to withstand some pretty heavy water pressure, the Gladius is built tough, really tough for its compact size (which also helps it endure deep water pressures). The basic drone package comes with a mere 1080p camera, a 30 meter tether and a WiFi buoy which acts as a signal repeater for control messages that run down the drone’s tether to the UUV itself. This basic drone package costs $599 and with a 4K UHD camera upgrade that price leaps up to $799. The drone’s maker is also claiming that their machine comes with “four degrees of freedom” (it’s four different thrusters) for a highly flexible level of underwater navigation.
Other cool aspects and specs of the Gladius include the ability to shoot 16 megapixel still photos in either the 4K or 1080p camera models and a mobile phone app in iOS and Android versions for remote control of the drone via phone. In case it’s still a bit unclear at this point, this drone isn’t controlled directly via wireless signal, since that’s not possible in the density of fresh or salty water. Instead, the Gladius remote control or smartphone app send a signal to the floating signal buoy for the UUV and this signal is then sent down the tether cable to the drone itself, which it connects to.
The Gladius captures 4K video and photos in what we could definitely call difficult viewing conditions, so another bonus that this drone comes with is its light sensor and image optimization package.
Finally, the drone comes with a controller with a sort of game console control array and a portable case.
Production of the Gladius is being crowd funded through an Indiegogo campaign that you can check out here and its makers are claiming a June, 2017 shipping date.
Story by 4k.com