New Product: The Newton Subsea Gripper!

Today’s new product should grab your attention – it’s the Newton Subsea Gripper for the BlueROV2 and other subsea vehicles! Check out the new product video:

The Newton Subsea Gripper is a single function manipulator that’s simple, robust, and highly capable. It’s controlled by a standard servo-style PWM signal, just like our thrusters and lights, runs on 9-18v, and is rated to 300 meter depth.

It comes with a quick-adjust mount that makes it easy to mount to the BlueROV2 and allows it to be retracted and rotated in the field. The mount attaches with two included M5 screws but you will have to drill the appropriate holes on the BlueROV2 bottom panel. We have clear instructions on how to do that.

That’s it for today! If you are in Japan, please visit our stand at Oceans ’18 in Kobe next week! We’ll have the BlueROV2 and the Newton Subsea Gripper on display.

New Products: Black Propellers, Updated 4″ Dome, Updated Battery, and the Bar02 Pressure Sensor!

Hello, friends! Today we have a few new and updated products to announce: black propellers for the T100 and T200, an update to the 4″ dome end-cap design, and the new Bar02 ultra-high resolution pressure sensor.

Black Propellers

Walking around at Oceanology International in London last month, we were thrilled to see a number of vehicles on display at different stands using the T100 and T200 thrusters! We also noticed that our blue propellers aren’t the perfect match for everyone’s color scheme.

A few vehicles at OI2018 with T100 and T200 Thrusters.

We decided to start offering the propellers in black as well for situations where you want the thrusters to blend in or have a slightly different look. The black propellers come in clockwise/counterclockwise sets with mounting screws.

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Introducing the BlueROV2 Heavy!

Today’s new product is something we can’t weight to share! It’s one of the biggest capabilities we’ve added to the BlueROV2 yet!

The new BlueROV2 Heavy Configuration upgrades the BlueROV2 to have four vertical thrusters, providing some powerful new performance capabilities including six degree-of-freedom control, active stability control, and additional payload capacity! We’ve been planning this upgrade since before the BlueROV2 was originally launched, and because of that, every BlueROV2 that we’ve ever shipped has the mounting holes ready to upgrade to the BlueROV2 Heavy Configuration.

The four vertical thrusters are mounted on the outside of the frame and have a protective guard to prevent snagging on the tether or anything else. The void left by the original vertical thrusters is filled with an additional buoyancy foam block and fairing for additional stability while maintain a sleek design.

There’s a lot of cool things about this new configuration. It’s probably best explained by watching it in action. Check out the official new product video to see it in action!

The BlueROV2 Heavy Retrofit Kit includes everything you need to upgrade your existing or new BlueROV2 to the heavy configuration and we’ve got a clear set of instructions on how to do that.

The main components of the retrofit kit, the guards, foam, and fairings, are also available separately for anyone who’d like to upgrade piece by piece or wants to use them in another application. The BlueROV2 spare thrusters are also available separately. You can check out the parts below.

You can check out the BlueROV2 Heavy in person at our stand at Oceanology International in London from March 13th-15th! We’d love to see you there so please stop by!

New Product: The Thruster Commander!

We’re excited to announce a new product today: the Thruster Commander! The Thruster Commander is a small control unit and accessories to make it as easy as possible to start using our thrusters. It’s the perfect test tool in the shop to get them up and running but it also has the capability to control multiple thrusters on a kayak, standup paddleboard, or just about any project you might have in mind!

Check out the new product video for a detailed explanation and to see it in action!

In addition to the control unit, the Thruster Commander includes two potentiometers and knobs that are used for input. There are two output channels and they can be controlled independently or they can be mixed together to provide smooth speed and steering control. Check out the new product video below for more information!

That’s all for today. Be sure to visit our stands at Underwater Intervention in New Orleans from February 6-8 and at Oceanology International 2018 in London on March 13-15!

New Products! 2″ and 3″ Series Domes

Happy Tuesday, friends! We’re excited to kick off 2018 with a couple additions to the Watertight Enclosure Series: optically clear domes for the 2″ Series and 3″ Series enclosures!

Dome shaped end caps can handle significantly more pressure for the same thickness as flat end caps. Both of these new domes are designed for extreme pressures – 900m for the 3″ Series and 1000+m for the 2″ Series! That means that these can both go just as deep or deeper than the 2″ Series Aluminum Tube and 3″ Series Aluminum Tube.


Domes are also ideal for use with cameras as they retain the original field of view of the camera compared to a flat end cap, which will reduce the field of view. These domes are both made from optically clear acrylic and won’t warp or distort your footage.

Compared to our original 4″ Series dome, these have a new design with a separate dome and retaining ring, providing a robust and simple seal and installation.

That rounds out our new product post for today! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more new products soon.

New Product: The Fathom Slim Tether!

We’ve got one more new product to squeeze in for 2017! The new Fathom Slim Tether is a high performance tether cable designed specifically for ROVs and other subsea applications and optimized for light weight, high strength, and transportability. It is neutrally buoyant, has 300 lb breaking strength, and is embedded with water-blocking fibers to seal any leaks. The tether has a diameter of 4.0mm and is much slimmer than the vast majority of ROV tethers.

The tether carries one unshielded twisted pair (UTP) of 26AWG wire. The core of the cable contains Kevlar strands for strength and filler fibers for space filling. Both fibers are impregnated with waterblocking compound to block any leaks caused by nicks or rips in the cable. The high-visibility yellow polyurethane foam jacket resists abrasion and provides neutral buoyancy.

The BlueROV2 with a 100m Fathom Slim Tether.

This tether really shines when it comes to it’s size. It’s slim profile makes it ultra low-drag, making it ideal for deep dives, high current dives, and long distance dives where the drag from the tether is really noticeable. The size also makes it incredibly portable and easy to handle. A hundred meter tether weighs just 3 lb (1.4 kg) and can be managed by hand very easily.

Since the tether only has two wires, is can only be used for the primary communication of the BlueROV2. There are no spare twisted pairs when using this cable, which means that it is not compatible with the Water Linked Analog Locator and is not ideal for applications where you need extra tether pairs.

We wish everyone a very happy New Year!

Updated Companion Software with New Camera Settings Page!

We’re excited to announce a new version of the Companion computer software is now available! This update adds a number of new features including a great new camera configuration page to adapt the camera settings to the underwater lighting conditions.

The update includes:

  • Display CPU and RAM usage statistics on the System page
  • Auto-detect and auto-connect to Water Linked Underwater GPS system
  • Add option to change the static ip address of the ROV on the Network page
  • Add support for Internet Explorer
  • Camera configuration page: easily configure camera and video stream settings

Lighting conditions underwater are quite different than above water. The light that penetrates the surface is absorbed at different rates depending on the color. Here’s a neat plot from NOAA Ocean Explorer showing how far different colors penetrate the water. As you can see, blue and green tend to go the furthest whereas red is absorbed almost immediately.

Credit: NOAA OceanExplorer

That changes the way that things look underwater. As you descend underwater, red will disappear from the image first, changing the overall color of the image. To truly correct that, you need to add the light back into the scene by illuminating it with lights.

The new camera page lets you adjust the color and lighting settings to cope with the color changes and make the camera view look more natural. With the ability to save different profiles, you can make a profile for shallow water, deep water, low visibility, good visibility, etc.

Please check out the forum post here that details the update process and the changes. If you have any feedback or results, feel free to share.

New Stable Release of BlueROV2 Software

Newest QGroundControl release.

Hello everyone! Today we’re proud to announce an updated release of the BlueROV2’s core software, which includes ArduSub, Companion, QGroundControl. This is our second big software update, and this time it can be performed without opening the electronics enclosure!

Notable changes in this update are:

  • Ability to display camera tilt angle, lights level, tether turns and more in QGC
  • GPS input support in Companion, including support for the Water Linked Underwater GPS Developer Kit
  • Fewer default pre-arm checks
  • Acceptable compass calibration threshold has been relaxed
  • Pilot input failsafe timeout increased from 1 second to 3 seconds (‘Lost manual control’ message)
  • Gyro calibration is disabled at boot by default
  • Support for the Bar100 pressure sensor
  • Companion login is changed to:
    • user: pi
    • password: companion
  • Allow selecting a custom image to display in the QGC ui in place of the ‘ArduSub’ logo
  • Many other various bugfixes, feature additions, and improvements, reference the release notes below for a comprehensive list of changes

We’ve done a lot of work to get this point and special credit goes to Jacob and Daniel, our primary Blue Robotics software developers. We strongly encourage all BlueROV2 users to upgrade to this newest software update. Please visit the full forum topic for update instructions.

New Product: The Water Linked Underwater GPS System!

Today we have a very special new product announcement. We’re partnering with Water Linked, a Norwegian company, and announcing the release of a revolutionarily low-cost Underwater GPS system. This new product, the Water Linked Underwater GPS Developer Kit combines a traditional GPS receiver and compass with an acoustic positioning system to provide positioning information underwater. We think this technology will be revolutionary to how we use ROVs.

We’re partnering with Water Linked as their first and only distributor for this system, and it will also be supported out of the box in ArduSub and the BlueROV2.

The Technology

The Water Linked positioning uses something called Short Baseline (SBL) acoustic positioning. Basically, the ROV has locator beacon that sends out an acoustic pulse. Near the surface, there are four receiver hydrophones lowered into the water. The hydrophones listen for the pulse from the locator beacon and use difference in the time-of-arrival to each receiver to triangulate the ROV’s position. SBL systems, compared to the USBL systems more often used on ROVs, have the advantage of working well in shallow water and noisy acoustic environments, such as in a fish cage.

Once the position is known relative to the receivers, the global position can be found by adding that to the position obtained by a GPS receiver. The Water Linked Underwater GPS system does that part internally so that it can provide the actual global position of the ROV as it’s output.

Why It’s Important

The addition of position information when operating an ROV or other marine robotic vehicle is a big change. It means that photos from inspections can be geotagged, targets with known coordinates can be found easily, and ROV can even be programmed to do autonomous actions, such as holding position in a current or following a set of GPS waypoints.

The Water Linked Underwater GPS Developer Kit

Today were launching the Underwater GPS system in a kit that includes all of the required hardware. The software is in a functional state already, but will be improved quite a bit over the next few months. That includes the addition of a well-documented API, performance improvements, and added features. The system includes everything you need to get started – check out the individual product pages for more details, datasheets, and info.

Orders can be placed today but please note that the first systems won’t ship until about June 15th of this year.

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ArduSub + ArduPilot is Official!

Hello everyone, we’re pleased to announce that the ArduSub project has merged with ArduPilot! This is a momentous occasion for the ArduSub project, with our two main developers, Jacob and Rusty, both becoming members of the ArduPilot development team. ArduSub is the first new vehicle type since the addition of ArduBoat in 2011, and is the first to take the ArduPilot project underwater!

We’ve been looking forward to seeing this since the start of ArduSub!

There are many benefits of developing ArduSub further as a part of the ArduPilot project:

  • Our code will always be up to date with the latest library developments and bugfixes.
  • Our code will regularly undergo a thorough automated validation, including simulated dives and builds for multiple autopilot platforms.
  • Our build system will be automated, and the latest firmware binary will be automatically updated and made available for download on firmware.ardupilot.org.
  • Our documentation will be updated and migrated to the ArduPilot wiki, and our vehicle parameters will be documented and automatically updated when our code changes.
  • Our contributions to the code will also receive peer reviews from the world-class team of developers of the ArduPilot team.

Further, ArduSub development and the latest ArduSub code will now be found in the ArduPilot repository. ArduPilot and ArduSub are currently undergoing a rapid development process, and we expect to have a new stable release in April with some great new features and support for additional hardware!

Thanks for joining us on this development. If you’re interested in contributing to the ArduSub project, let us know!

If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to post them on the associated forum topic.