Underwater drones is something that is yet to make its own space in the market, mostly because of very limited capabilities combined with high prices. The sixth version of the BIKI underwater bionic drone is here to change that, and as it looks from its success on Kickstarter, it is really about to. This latest model boasts a powerful 16MP 4K camera with live transmission capabilities, a GPS sensor for smart navigation, a large battery, and a level of reliability that goes beyond anything else that we have seen in the market until today.
BIKI uses a bionic tail fin that makes it silent underwater and doesn’t scare the fish away so you can capture mesmerizing pictures and videos of them. The fin moves the 1.1 kg drone to a maximum speed of 1.8 kilometers per hour, and to a max depth of 60 meters under the surface. Due to the left-right movement of the fin, BIKI’s camera needed to incorporate some kind of a stabilizer system to ensure smooth videos and sharp images. This is combined with a 150 degree wide lens and two strong LED lights that adequately lighten even the darkest parts of the seabed for a better capture quality. The 32 GB of internal memory storage are enough to hold up to 2 hours of video which is the same as its battery life, or 4000 high resolution photos.
You may control BIKI through your smartphone, or by using its controller, and you can even set underwater routes for it to follow. The range of the controller reaches up to 7 meters, while the range of the WiFi system will have you covered for up to 80 meters! Note that the live media transfer is limited to 20 meters though. BIKI isn’t completely relying on you for its navigation as it also incorporates its own balancing system that allows it to set its pitch, yaw, and roll to an optimal level. Finally, BIKI can detect obstacles on its own thanks to an infrared system, and change its course to avoid them even if you are purposely leading it right onto them.
Finally, BIKI is maybe the most resilient underwater drone right now. This is a very important feature since the drone is meant to be used underwater so it needs to be able to withstand aggressive conditions. The team has actually tested the drone in Antarctica so it has confirmed that it can operate normally on temperatures that start from zero degrees and go up to 70 degrees Celsius. The ABS body of BIKI is resistant to UV light decay and also very resilient against sea water corrosive agents. The team has also performed 30 cm drop tests so they confirm that BIKI can survive small drops.
The current Kickstarter price of BIKI is set at around $600 and the expecting delivery is set for September 2017. The team has extensively tested over 30 prototypes during last year, and they are hoping that the money from the current model will be enough to allow them independent development of the next BIKI that is aimed at going to a depth of 100 meters while being even smaller!