Aquabotix Underwater: Explore the Sea Depths from the Comfort of Your Boat

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Explore the world beneath the water’s surface without getting wet, using ROVs and viewing systems from Aquabotix. The HydroView motorized remote-operated vehicles and AquaLens viewing systems allow you to study marine life and environments; perform inspections under your boat; carry out search-and-recovery missions; and check water depths, tanks, and conditions—all while staying safe and dry above the surface.

Of course, these ROVs and viewers can help you plan your next dive, too. Figure out the best spots for capturing images of marine life, environments, shipwrecks, and more, and get readings and images of water conditions. In unknown conditions and environments, such as dark caves, or in obviously dangerous situations, such as when photographing or recording shark behavior, you can send one of these remote viewers instead of risking the safety of a diver. Know what you’re getting yourself into before you throw on your scuba gear and take the plunge.

While the HydroView vehicle is underwater, you can view a live video feed on your iPad or computer’s display and control its movements and functions remotely, right from your device, using the HydroView app or software. When it’s in use, the video feed is visible in the background with the control setting overlays on top. A Dashboard Panel, Depth Meter, Compass, and Speed Meter are all software upgrades available at the time of purchase. Additionally, in the event that the waterproof seal on your HydroView is breached and water begins to leak, the leak-warning icon will flash on your screen to alert you to remove the vehicle from the water immediately. The ROVs have Cat 5e cables for connection to the included topside boxes, which generate their own Wi-Fi signal and allow you to connect your iPad or laptop.

Via the app's interface, you can adjust the vehicle's LED dome lights' brightness, video- or still-recording settings, as well as speed, stop, and reverse functions. You even have the ability to set up the camera to take pictures at specified intervals. Recorded videos and photos are stored on the HydroView, and you can use the free Media Manager app to select which ones you want to download to your device.

HydroView Remote-Operated Vehicles

The HydroView Sport features a 1MP CMOS image sensor for capturing 1280 x 800 still photos and HD 720p video at 30 fps, at a maximum depth of 150'. The camera has a wide-angle lens with a fast f/2.4 maximum aperture for clear low-light shots, and the acrylic dome port for the lens increases the angle of view for wider coverage, counteracting the narrowing effect that occurs underwater.

The Sport’s 75' cable can be increased to 150' or 200' using optional extensions, to allow you to drive the vehicle farther. An 8GB memory card is included for recording high-definition video and still images, and the unit accepts memory cards up to 32GB for capturing 1-2 hours of HD video. The Sport runs on a rechargeable battery pack for approximately three hours and is driven by three Swiss-made, high-torque motors with propellers.

Various optional upgrades are available, including an orientation sensor that provides readings on yaw, pitch, roll, and heading relative to true north, which aids in vehicle navigation when water quality is poor and visibility is low. There's also an optional sensor that gives you readings on the underwater depth of the vehicle, so you can make sure you don’t exceed the depth rating or do the opposite and hit the rocks in waters that are too shallow. Another recommended upgrade is a sensor that detects and indicates the temperature of the water in which the vehicle is operating.

The HydroView Plus has all the features of the HydroView Sport with a few key additions―most notably, the inclusion of a 75' extension cable for a total cable length of 150' out of the box. A 32GB memory card is included, for capturing up to 130 minutes of HD video, and the orientation sensor that’s available as an optional upgrade for the Sport is integrated into the Plus, along with auto controls that let you set pitch and heading.

Going up another level, the HydroView Max has all the features of the Plus, and adds some enhancements. The 200' cable is substantially longer, allowing you to drive the vehicle even farther. Additionally, three power configurations are available: 110-240VAC topside continuous, 12VDC topside continuous, and standard battery. A high-performance power package gives the battery-operated HydroView Max up to 50% more thrust and battery life than the Sport or Plus, enabling it to travel at up to 4.5 knots forward and 2 knots in reverse, while the other models can move at 2.5 knots forward and 1.0 knot in reverse. Depth and temperature sensors, as well as the depth and thrust auto controls, are also added as standard features on the Max edition.

The HydroView Inspector features a 330' depth rating and a 250' cable, and further differentiates itself with the inclusion of dual HD video cameras―one external and one internal. The internal camera is located within the dome and is forward-looking, while the external one features manual 360° pan and -90° to 180° tilt capability, allowing you to see in any direction. The HydroView has a wide-angle lens and a dome port to compensate for the decrease in coverage underwater. With the included 32GB memory card, you can record up to 130 minutes of HD 720p video.

The Inspector runs on rechargeable lithium-battery power and utilizes three motors with propellers to give you speeds up to 4.5 knots in drive and 2 knots in reverse. The orientation, depth, and temperature sensors are all here, too, and the HydroView software offers autopilot control over heading, pitch, depth, and thrust, with way points, patterns, and mission-specific software optional.

The Aquabotix HydroView PRO 5M ROV also has a depth rating of 330', and offers the same 250' cable, sensor configuration, image resolution, wide angle of view, and corrective dome port as the Inspector. It stands on its own through the incorporation of five high-torque motors, including two thrusters and three hovering/pitch motors, with propellers. The unique motor configuration gives you complete control over forward/backward and up/down motions, as well as roll, pitch, yaw, and hovering. The PRO 5M can reach speeds up to 4 knots forward and 2 knots in reverse, and runs on two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The vehicle ships with the 32GB memory card, though as an alternative, you can purchase it in a different configuration with a 128GB Solid-State Drive for greater storage capacity.

The HydroView PRO 5M for Water Inspection is the same as the regular PRO 5M, except that it's designed specifically for water tank inspections. For this reason, it offers a camera with a wider lens, a higher-resolution 2MP image sensor, and full HD 1080p video recording. The PRO 5M also features a more powerful external light, with an output of 800 lumens. These features provide greater visibility and image quality in dark tanks, enabling you to perform inspections more quickly and accurately. The ROV fits through small access points and can be used to check sediment levels and other conditions, and to search linings, seams, and internal structures for corrosion.

Rounding out the line of underwater ROVs is the HydroView PRO 7M, which is the same as the PRO 5M except that it features two additional thrusters for greater power and better control in rougher waters. These capabilities, along with the autopilot controls, make it ideal for search-and-rescue or recovery missions, and can be deployed in two minutes to survey the underwater scene.

HydroView Accessories

An Extended Range Topside Box features additional electronics that strengthen the signal between it and the battery-powered HydroView PRO Underwater ROVs—allowing for an increased range of up to 500'. Also available is the HydroView Topside Control Station with Lenovo ThinkPad X240 Laptop PC, Wireless Controller, and Case bundle, which is designed for controlling any of the HydroView underwater remote-operated vehicles, along with their respective functions, and monitoring the live video feed from the included laptop.

The computer can also be used directly to operate the vehicle without the controller via the pre-loaded HydroView software. The controller features a 30' wireless range and has dual programmable joysticks and 10 customizable function buttons in a familiar video-game controller shape and layout.

A 5MP High-Definition Internal Camera for the HydroView PRO ROVs replaces the standard internal camera that is originally installed. The 5MP Aptina 1/2.5" CMOS sensor has a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944, improving upon the 1280 x 800 of the vehicle's default imager, and offers better low-light shooting, thanks to the increased sensitivity and fast f/2.8 aperture. Aquabotix also offers an External Camera for HydroView PRO, which has the same features as the vehicle's internal camera, with one important addition: It permits manual panning and 90° tilting for streaming and capturing live video and still photos from multiple directions.

For increased lighting control, the High-Intensity 800-Lumen External LED Light is compatible with the HydroView PRO and Inspector models. The light is installed by default on the HydroView PRO 5M and makes a great add-on accessory for the other vehicles. It features a wide beam angle of 170° and adjustable output, from 0 to 100%, via the HydroView app.  

AquaLens Underwater Viewing Systems

Perform inspections of the underwater parts of your boat, including the anchor, rudder, hull, keel, and propellers, or simply check water conditions and enjoy a closer look at undersea life and environments with the AquaLens Portable Underwater Viewing System. Compared to the HydroView ROVs, the AquaLens is available with shorter connecting cables—15', 25', and 50' lengths—and a lower depth rating of 50', making it better suited to more localized use. This compact, easy-to-use device features a camera with a 1/3" CMOS sensor and 640 x 480 resolution, and its lens has a wide-angle of view of 92° and is protected by a corrective dome port. The AquaLens also features an anti-fogging design for improved visibility. A topside box, 3.5" color LCD, and adapter for pole attachment are all supplied, too.

The AquaLens Pro has a 25' Kevlar-reinforced cable, which can be increased in length by the optional 50' and 150' Extensions and connects to the supplied waterproof topside box, with an integrated 3.5" LCD monitor. The Pro has a much greater depth rating than the standard AquaLens, capable of submersion to 300'. The camera itself features a 1/4" CMOS image sensor and outputs images in the 640 x 480 resolution, and its wide-angle lens has an expansive 160° angle of view. The AquaLens and AquaLens Pro run on 8 AA batteries and a rechargeable lithium battery pack, respectively, or on continuous topside power as an alternative, via the optional AC power adapter.

For viewing and recording video from the AquaLens Pro, the Topside Viewing Station is available and features a 7" LCD monitor with 800 x 480 resolution, in addition to a power control box, remote control, 6-pin connector cable, battery with charger, and waterproof carrying case. The station records the live video feed to the included 32GB SDHC memory card. You can also purchase the AquaLens Pro and Topside Viewing Station together in one convenient package.

For viewing the live video feed from your AquaLens or AquaLens Pro on your TV, the 25' Male RCA to 3.5mm Mini Male NTSC Composite Video Cable can be used, which plugs into the RCA connector on an optional composite video splitter. The 12" Composite Video Splitter Cable, exclusive to the AquaLens Pro, provides a composite video output for connection to your computer, television, or other display monitor.