Beijing-based robotics company PowerVision demonstrated “the world’s first consumer underwater drone;” the PowerRay, at the “Hello Underwater World” event in Singapore.
Marketed as a “game changer” in regards to fishing and capturing high-quality underwater footage. This remotely operated vehicle combines advanced photo- and videography prowess with virtual reality capabilities. Providing potential consumers who enjoy recreational fishing or underwater cinematography with the means to find fish or simply visually capture them in their element with pristine image quality.
PowerRay first unveiled at CES 2017 as part of the “Power” series; which includes the PowerEye, PowerEgg, and also PowerDolphin, it became apparent that PowerVision is aiming squarely to develop lifestyle ROVs. In other words, the PowerRay isn’t merely designed as a high-tech toy that can swim around and capture HD footage; it’s meant to assist you, and enhance your experience.
“When we first introduced PowerEgg and PowerEye, we told the world that we were not just another drone company,” said PowerVision CEO Wally Zheng. “PowerRay showed our capabilities to drive innovation…changing the way people live, work, and have fun every day.”
Explorer and Wizard Editions
The first thing to keep in mind here is that the PowerRay comes in two editions, the Explorer, and the Wizard. The former targeted solely at photo and videography enthusiasts. Let’s take a look…
The PowerRay Explorer edition is equipped with an ultra high definition 95-degree wide-angle lens underwater camera; which also allows users to stream its captured footage back in 1080p. Of course, 4K video at 30fps is also an option, as well as a Fast Burst Shot photography mode that takes five 12-megapixel photos. However, the most exciting aspect of all this is the Power VR Goggle compatibility. These first-person view goggles were developed in partnership with Zeiss; a brand that basically guarantees visual fidelity and allows you to see what the drone sees. As someone who doesn’t fish and largely stays away from exploring the deep. we are frankly pretty excited to someday navigate the waters in first-person. Of course, the VR Somatosensory Control mentioned in the press release is pretty enticing, too. It’s an option of “controlling the robot with gravity sensors.”
For the serious fishermen out there, interested in some robotic assistance to explore the waters beneath you, the PowerRay Wizard edition may be of interest. This model comes with the PowerSeeker; “an intelligent fish finder” that can actually detect depth range of 120 feet, fish size, water temperature and also information about the seafloor.
Regarding the ROV’s body, the press release boasts “military-grade sealed design” which allows the PowerRay to dive down to 98 feet in either freshwater or saltwater environments. The battery life, fortunately, is pretty damn impressive. This thing can stay in operation underwater for up to four hours.
Portable & Functional
In the world of drones, portability, functionality, and convenience is king. However, the PowerRay weighs a mere 8.4 pounds, which, in combination with its technical capabilities, is pretty impressive. Frankly, the PowerRay as a whole is impressive, with the only downside being the usual culprit, the price point. If you live in Singapore or find yourself there for a layover, you can purchase a PowerRay Explorer for $1,975 or a PowerRay Wizard for $2,735 at retail stores and also at shopping centers.
These drones seem ideal for filmmakers and production companies that need to get some otherwise inaccessible shots and footage; or simply for hobbyist fishing fans. Finally, stay tuned, as we try to get our hands on one of these and provide a more personal, hands-on perspective.