Underwater drones open up ocean exploration without getting wet, but placing a drone in the current can create some shaky footage. Startup Navatics is attempting to fight that with an aquatic drone equipped with stabilization. Now on Kickstarter, the Navatics Mito is a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) with a 4K camera and advanced active stabilization.
The Mito uses a floating tether to transmit signals to the controller, but the tether also uses a built-in solar panel to extend the battery life of the drone from two hours to up to a four-hour run time. The drone is rated to dive to 135 feet and the tether allows for 165 feet of navigation away from the float.
The drone uses four thrusters to move underwater and can also tilt up or down up to 45 degrees without changing the depth. Mito can travel as fast as four knots, which is about 6.5 feet per second.
The ROV is equipped with a 4K, 30 fps camera for video, with eight megapixel still photos. Two LED video lights are also built onto the drone. Underwater footage often suffers from odd colors, so the drone’s app, available on iOS and Android, also has built-in color correction.
The drone is operated with an included controller that also uses a slot to attach a smartphone. The built-in camera can livestream to the app for navigation in 1080p quality.
Navatics says they built the Mito to fit into a carry-on suitcase or backpack at 15 inches on the longest side. The drone weighs 6.6 pounds.
“With Navatics Mito, our goal is to create an underwater drone with the ability to stream high-quality video and maneuver with maximum stability to get the best footage,” Navatics CEO Andreas Widy said in a statement. “We want to provide this professional level experience so that anyone from the hobbyist consumer to the professional videographer can experience the marine world without limitation.”
Navatics is a 2016 startup sparked from a college project of the founders at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The Mito is the company’s first underwater drone.
Navatics is using Kickstarter to crowdfund its first drone. The group reached its funding goal after five hours on the platform. Pledges that include a drone start at $1,199. If the Mito is successful, it’s expected to retail for $1,999.