A San Diego-based company hopes to get its hooks into a drone-driven revenue stream with the release of a 3-D printed UAV designed to fly over water. The aptly named AguaDrone, has cast its line into the turbulent waters of Kickstarter and is angling for a six-figure, crowdfunded catch.
The quadcopter prototype is designed to hover over water carrying one of three pods. The Fish Scout Pod is a sonar-based fish finder that can send a wireless signal more than 300 feet to a smartphone or tablet app that targets fish-filled locations. Using the Line Flier Pod, an angler can then attach fishing line from a pole to the pod and send the AguaDrone to a sonar-marked waypoint where the fish are biting. The drone then drops the pod and attached baited line into the water and returns home. Finally, the AguaDrone can carry an HD Camera Pod with pan tilt to scope out the best spots. It’s safe to say that, had Captain Ahab owned an AguaDrone, Moby Dick would have been a short story.
AguaDrone CEO Dan Marion hopes the aquatic UAV concept will take off in the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. “I have been interested in and building remote control planes and fishing for over 51 years,” he said. “I have put this drone together with fishermen and hobbyists in mind to have something more than just a drone that flies around but does nothing but fly around.” For Marion, the project is an extension of his lifelong interests. “I have had two fishing tackle shops and hold two patents for fishing products, one for a roofing vent and four pending for a drone,” he said, adding that one of his patented fishing products landed a state record smallmouth bass in Arizona in 1988.
For $799, early Kickstarter investors will receive a read-to-fly package equipped with a Naza-M Lite-GPS flight controller, clear polycarbonate dome, Turnigy 9x transmitter, balance charger, and 2 2200 mAh batteries with parallel adapter (pods sold separately). With 41 days left in the campaign, AguaDrone will need to cast its line deeper – as of June 5, the project had raised $425 of $150,000.
Aquatic and aerial/aquatic drones are not new concepts in the UAV world continue to demonstrate the versatility of emerging technologies – the sky and the ocean is the limit for drones (well, not really). In April, Search Systems Ltd. developed the Mariner 600, “an unmanned multicopter with aquatic landing capability and interchangeable aerial and marine camera views.” In March, Urban Drones of Ft. Lauderdale launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Splash Drone, a quadcopter designed for adventure-genre imagery flights capable of landing and floating on bodies of water.
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