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Underwater drone now includes a zoom lens and better image stabilization

If you love the idea of exploring the world beneath the waves but prefer to keep your head above water when you’re in the ocean, then a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) is surely your next best option.

While sky-based drones have been the main focus for many companies building remotely operated vehicles, more recently there’s been a growing interest in developing camera-equipped ROVs for underwater exploration.

One such company making a splash is China’s Youcan Robot, which last year launched the consumer-focused BW Space submersible.

Twelve months on and Youcan Robot has come up with a more advanced version of its original machine called the BW Space Pro Zoom.

The update incorporates several notable improvements, including a 6x optical zoom and enhanced image stabilization for more professional-looking footage.

In addition, a new four-motor design offers much more variation in underwater movement, allowing the drone to rise and dive with greater control, combined with up-and-down tilts of 45 degrees.

As with its predecessor, the BW Space Pro Zoom can dive to depths of 100 meters (330 feet), with real-time video sent via a tether linked to a Wi-Fi repeater that floats on the surface. The range is decent, too, with the operator able to use a smartphone or the accompanying remote to control the machine up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from the repeater.

The BW Space Pro Zoom also features a 1/1.8 inch CMOS sensor capable of capturing 12-megapixel images and high-resolution 4K video, with onboard LED lights that can adjust their strength automatically in an effort to properly illuminate the subject in front. The submersible’s battery should keep the BW Space Pro Zoom ticking for up to five hours if you’re only taking stills, and a still-reasonable three hours if you’re shooting video, according to Youcan Robot.

The BW Space Pro Zoom comes with a $1,999 price tag, though two less sophisticated versions (without zoom function and several other features) are also available for $1,399 and $999.

Interested to see what else is on the market when it comes to underwater drones? Digital Trends has taken a look at some alternative designs, with prices averaging around $1,200.

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