Robotics developer Chasing has launched an omnidirectional observation ROV, monikered the M2. The light-duty vehicle utilises eight vectored thrusters, enabling the user to steer the M2 in six directions, and to rotate and pitch it.
Size and accessibility were key considerations when designing the M2. According to Jacky Yang, Chasing co-founder and chief marketing officer: “Current radio-operated submersibles for the professional market are often too big, heavy and expensive for many governments, companies and organisations.”
The M2 has a compact, aluminium alloy body, weighing less than 5kg, and measures 380mm x 260mm, so that a single person can carry it. The ROV can reach a top speed of 3knots, is rated for a maximum depth of 100m and can typically be deployed in under three minutes. Features include a digitally stabilised camera which can capture 4K/1,080p video streams and take 12mp still images. The ROV is equipped with two LED lights, each rated 2,000lumens, and can incorporate extra lights and GoPro cameras on its front and rear ends, if required.
Users can also add sensors to the payload, including laser-based measuring equipment, enabling the M2 to assess damage done to hulls and structures (such as cracks, for example).
Ideal applications for the M2 would include vessel hull inspections, scientific research and fish farming (taking in tasks such as net inspection – see Ship & Boat International November/December 2019, pages 45-47), Chasing suggests. The M2 also features a swappable 99Wh lithium battery, which provides two to four hours of dive time, and a removable 256GB MicroSD memory card.
The vehicle is also fitted with GPS and can be deployed via Chasing’s own battery-powered E-Reel electronic winder, which can roll/unroll a 200m-long cable within two minutes, up to 12 times per charge.