We’ve posted several new videos of the BlueROV2 in action in several locations. The first shows the BlueROV2 during a trip to Ensenada, Mexico where we visited two fish farms. The BlueROV2 was used to inspect their cage anchors and the inside of the cages. We were able to rapidly inspect anchors at 130 ft depth and found issues with several of them. Each anchor took 10-15 minutes to inspect.
The second video was from our filming on the Big Island of Hawaii. We visited a number of reef sites and filmed the fish and corals. All of this filming was done from shore, sometimes with a snorkeler in the water to film and keep an eye on the tether. The reef scenery and wildlife is incredible, but we also saw a significant amount of dead and dying coral. It’s sad to see.
We’ll have a few more videos from these trips, including one showing the open waters of Hawaii!
Introducing ArduSub: The Open-Source Future of Subsea Vehicle Control
Today we’d like to share something that we’ve been working on for quite a while. If you stay on top of our forums or Github page, you may have already seen a bit about it.
This new project is called ArduSub.
ArduSub, we hope, will become the open-source future of subsea vehicles. It encompasses the software and hardware that make up the brain of an ROV or AUV, providing everything needed to control the vehicle, communicate with the surface, and perform sophisticated subsea missions.
Reef image captured by an ArduSub-powered ROV.
At Blue Robotics, we’ve always embraced open-source technology and this project is no different. ArduSub is based on the open-source ArduPilot project, one of the world’s most capable and successful autopilots for drone airplanes, helicopters, and ground vehicles. ArduSub takes the ArduPilot project to a new frontier with subsea capabilities targeted towards ROVs and AUVs.
Stability PID tuning during development of ArduSub.
What does that mean for future ArduSub users? It means that this project isn’t started from scratch – it’s born from years of previous development work, hundreds of contributors, thousands of hours of testing, and several generations of hardware. That provides ArduSub with a rapid path to maturity and already-built-in capabilities and features that surpass those of many commercial ROVs.
Deep-dive test at 135m with an ArduSub-powered ROV.
It also means options. ArduSub is compatible with ten or more different hardware options, multiple topside user interfaces on every operating system, a wide variety of sensors and actuators, and a host of tools such as DroneKit, mavros, and more.
All of this is thanks to the open-source community that has been working on ArduPilot for many years. Blue Robotics is committed to supporting the continued work of that community and to contribute back to it. We have proudly joined the DroneCode Foundation, which manages the ArduPilot codebase, and hope to support this great organization for many years.
We are very excited to announce the release of the BlueROV Developer Version! The BlueROV is an ROV kit for experienced hobbyists, DIYers, and those wishing to learn!
It comes as an unassembled kit with frame, watertight enclosure, thrusters, and speed controllers. The electronics are up to you – open source software is available. It uses six thrusters to provide six-degree-of-freedom control allowing you to point the ROV in any orientation to film anything, grab anything with a simple robot arm, and have a lot of fun! Note, this kit is identical to those received as Kickstarter rewards.
This is not a ready-to-run kit! It is meant for those with software/electronics experience who are interested in following along with and/or contributing to ROV software development.
The BlueROV Developer Version is available for pre-order now, shipping by August 2015.
We are also proud to introduce the bluerov-ros-pkg, a software platform for ROV and AUV control built on the Robotic Operating System (ROS). By leveraging ROS, we have access to a vast amount of existing work in robotics, from localization and mapping to autonomous navigation.
We made a short video to introduce the bluerov-ros-pkg and demonstrate basic control of the BlueROV. You can check it out here:
We have a few exciting updates about the BlueESC, T200, and BlueROV, all of which will ship soon (finally!). We appreciate your patience as we learn and grow and make our products the best they can be.
You may have already read the article on our website, but we have some exciting testing news about the T100 and T200 Thrusters! The folks over at Woods Holes Oceanographic Institution recently performed a static pressure test of the T100 Thrusters. We’re proud to report that they survived at 3000m depth (4500 psi) with no damage or changes in performance! Check out the full article and pictures here.
Last, we are moving! It’s finally time to upgrade from our tiny space to something that we can grow into. We’ll be moving ten minutes south into Torrance, California. Once we get moved in, we’ll share pictures!
The BlueESC is now in early production and we will ship around 50-100 units in April. Below is a picture of the first six that we built.
It’s been a while since we sent out an update, but we’ve gotten a lot done! We’ve shipped almost 450 T100 Thrusters so far and we’ve shipped out all standard OpenROV Compatible Kits! We haven’t revealed a whole lot about the OpenROV Kit, so most of this update will describe that. Upcoming in the next week or two, we will have reports on the BlueESC and T200 Thruster as well as some very exciting depth testing results.
OpenROV Compatible Kit
Here’s what comes with each kit:
2 x T100 Thrusters (standard)
1 x M100 Motor (vertical thruster)
1 x M100 Propeller
1 x OpenROV Mounting Hardware Kit
You already know what the T100 Thrusters look like. Here’s what the M100, propeller, and mounting hardware kit look like:
The propeller is 3D printed in polished black plastic and designed to fit the OpenROV vertical thruster position. It uses a similar blade profile and shape as the T100 Propeller. It’s designed for efficient thrust in both directions, which is particularly important on the OpenROV.
You’ve got from now until September 11th to back us, but don’t wait. There are early-bird reward levels that will only last so long. We need all the help we can get to launch the thruster and to start enabling the field of marine robotics to just about anyone! Your help means the world to us, so back us now!
We’ve made a few small changes to the campaign since we launched the preview last week. Here’s the important changes:
The rewards were all rounded to make the math easier for multiple quantities. The Early Bird Thrusters are now $90 each and the Regular Thrusters are $100 each.
We added a BlueROV Kit Reward Level. This includes the frame, thrusters, and ESCs and requires some basic assembly. You still need to provide the electronics. We recommend a 3DR APM2.6 Autopilot and a Raspberry Pi.
We are now including forward/reverse electronic speed controllers (ESCs) with any reward level for $20 each. They can handle up to 20 amps and are great for the T100s.
We also added some great data charts to the Kickstarter page and to the thruster. Check it out.
The T100 is an underwater electric motor and propeller that is powerful, resistant to saltwater corrosion, and extremely affordable at $99 each. Before now, you would have to spend $500-$3,000 to buy a thruster, making marine robotics an exclusive field reserved for government, institutions, and large companies. We hope to change that.
The Kickstarter campaign will launch on August 12th, 2014 at 8:30am Pacific, but you can check out a preview of it right now: