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The future of ocean exploration is here.
The future of ocean exploration is here.
The future of ocean exploration is here.
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1,324 backers pledged $815,601 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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OpenROV Trident - An Underwater Drone for Everyone

$815,601

1,324

"The future of drones isn’t in the skies. It’s in the ocean.""It feels like an amusement park ride–except it’s real. You’re really driving around underwater, exploring." - Gizmodo

"OpenROV’s new Trident is a powerful, speedy vehicle that can remotely navigate underwater locations never before accessible." - Mike Senese, MAKE

"OpenROV Trident Drone: because aerial footage is so passé." - Outside

"The future of ocean exploration is here." - Entrepreneur

"Ever since you watched Jacques Cousteau on TV possibly caught Bill Murray in “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” you've dreamt what it would be like to explore and film the briny deep yourself. Well now you can—without setting a single flipper in the water." - Maxim

"Suddenly, you don’t need to be a James Cameron or a Jacques Cousteau to explore beneath the waves." - Zachary Slobig, takepart

"A new revolution in ocean exploration has begun, mirroring, in many ways, the invention of the Aqua-Lung. Small, low-cost, and easy to operate underwater and aerial vehicles are creating a sea change in how humans interact with the marine environment." - Motherboard VICE

"But this machine is also a kind of manifesto, an exhortation to humanity to join together with their robots and explore the universe." - Annalee Newitz, io9

"It's such a cool idea! They should be in every hardware store." - Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence and TED Prize Winner

After four years designing and piloting underwater drones, we've taken everything we've learned and completely re-imagined what an underwater drone could be. Trident has a unique design that combines the versatility and control of an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) and the efficiency of an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle). It can fly in long, straight survey lines called "transects" as well as perform delicate maneuvers in tight spaces, all while maintaining a sleek and powerful form factor.

Trident is easy to use and comes ready to go. Most importantly, it is incredibly fun to fly. (Flying really is the best term, because that's exactly what it feels like when you're piloting.)

(or email press@openrov.com)
(or email press@openrov.com)
                

Our Story

You may remember us. We came to Kickstarter three years ago and shared our dream of building a low-cost underwater robot that would allow anyone and everyone to explore the world below the surface. We have come a long way since that initial Kickstarter video

We were working out of Eric's garage at the time, building the original prototype to explore a cave in Northern California with rumors of lost treasure (the full story can be heard in this TED talk). We never found the gold, but we received messages from people all over the world who wanted to help us and improve the robot. The Kickstarter project was the springboard. Since then, we've shipped thousands of OpenROV kits to people all over the world. 

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 Community

The OpenROV community is the secret sauce. We made our project open source in order to facilitate faster innovation cycles and allow others to improve on our initial designs. Thousands of people have gotten involved. You can see and follow along with the community expeditions on OpenExplorer

A glimpse of the OpenROV community
A glimpse of the OpenROV community

Team

We've also assembled a small team that works from our OpenROV HQ in Berkeley, CA to manufacture, ship and support the robots. The combination of community wisdom and the commitment of our internal R&D team (many of whom were original Kickstarter backers) have been the drivers in creating Trident. 

OpenROV Team
OpenROV Team

At OpenROV, we talk openly about our desire to maximize "Return on Adventure." We want to make sure that everyone who comes in contact with our project - community members, customers, employees, whoever - feels that their world is more interesting and more exciting because of it. We want to give people a sense of wonder about how much out there is yet to be explored and make it possible for anyone to be a part of exploring it. Trident is our best attempt yet to fulfill that promise.

OpenROV 2.8 vs. Trident
OpenROV 2.8 vs. Trident

Trident Performance

Every aspect of the Trident design has been painstakingly thought out in order to optimize performance and usability in any situation. One of the secrets of its versatility is the unique, hydrodynamically offset thruster design. This configuration allows you to move through the water fast and efficiently when you want to rapidly search an area or run a transect, but also allows you to maneuver very delicately when in tight quarters or while looking at a particular target.

By taking advantage of drag's exponential relationship with velocity, the off-center vertical thruster of the ROV can cause it to pitch at high speeds but also hover or change depth without pitching while operating at low speeds - similar to the way a traditional ROV works. 

We've designed Trident to be ultra portable and ultra durable. The form factor is small enough to fit in a backpack or fit under an airplane seat. The side panels are overmolded with a strong, rubber coating, which gives it protection from underwater obstacles as well as rough handling when being transported.

Depth: Capable of 100m (will ship with a 25m  tether - longer tethers will be sold separately)
Mass: 2.9 kg
Top Speed: 2 m/s
Run Time: 3 hours

Trident Dimensions
Trident Dimensions

The data connection to Trident is a major evolution from the connection set up of the original OpenROV kit. It uses a neutrally buoyant tether to communicate to a towable buoy on the surface (radio waves don't travel well in water) and the buoy connects to the pilot using a long range WiFi signal. Using a wireless towable buoy greatly increases the practical range of the vehicle while doing transects and search patterns since a physical connection between the vehicle and the pilot doesn't need to be maintained. You can connect to the buoy and control Trident using a tablet or laptop from a boat or from the shore.

Software

Our goal is to make the easiest, most intuitive telerobotic control system possible. We have embraced the latest emerging internet standards from HTML5 and webRTC to WebVR and WebGL to deliver a rich piloting experience through just a browser that runs on laptops, tablets, and modern mobile devices.

The software that drives Trident is a living open-source project (https://github.com/openrov/openrov-software). The same software that drives our previous ROV has been continually updated by both the community and our software team. Some of those changes included:

  • Software plugins that allow any ROV enthusiast to deliver improved ROV capabilities to the whole OpenROV community via small Internet delivered update packages. 
  • UI Themes so that you can change the look and feel of the piloting experience. 
  • Depth and Heading hold. Until recently, only a feature on high end industrial ROVs, now available to everyone.

With Trident we are focused on an amazing out-of-the-box experience. We are reviewing every bit of the user experience regarding our software to ensure the most simple and intuitive experience possible.

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

In each of the reward levels for a Trident, the basic package will include:

  • Trident. The actual drone, ready-to-dive.
  • A 25m (82 ft) tether. There's a lot to see in the first 25m of depth. For many people, that will be enough. Tethers will be removable and upgradeable if you need to go deeper.
  • A wifi topside buoy. The tether connects to a wifi topside buoy. You can use this to control the ROV remotely by setting it on the water or just leaving it on the boat or dock. 
  • Batteries. Trident comes with onboard LiFePO4 batteries, providing a run time of over 3 hours.

ADVENTURE SET ADD ON* (add $350 to any pledge level):
*
You can always get this later if you're not sure. Or only add for either the hard case or longer tether.

  • Hard Case. ($100 Add On) Trident will come in a sturdy package/box, but the Adventure Set will have a hard case for travel and shipment. 
    AND/OR
  • 100m Tether. ($250 Add On) Know you want to go deep? Get the 100m tether right out of the gate.

USE CASES

We built Trident to be the ultimate tool for explorers. But we also wanted to make sure that it was useful for a whole host of utilities. One of the most interesting new features - something that sets Trident in a class of its own - is its ability to conduct long transects, meaning it can run lawn mower patterns over large areas. 

The benefit of this type of coverage is that you can create visualizations of what the seafloor looks like using photogrammetry software to create a 3D model of the work area. Here's an example from the Fiskardo Greece Expedition run by our friends at OCTOPUS Foundation and Novalta

Fiskardo Greece Visualization
Fiskardo Greece Visualization

When overlaid on top of aerial drone footage, these visualizations create a "window on the sea."

credit: Fiskardo Greece Expedition - Ocean 71
credit: Fiskardo Greece Expedition - Ocean 71


It's also a great tool for boat owners and fishermen. Whether you want to inspect an anchor line or look for shipwrecks, Trident gives you eyes underwater and adds a whole new dynamic to the experience of being on the water. 

Sponsor a High School

The OpenROV Club at Oakland High
The OpenROV Club at Oakland High

"The OpenROV project was a winner -- igniting my inner city students' enthusiasm for exploration, taking on academic and technical challenges and developing resilience to over-come set-backs."
-Katie Noonan, Oakland High School

One of the most exciting parts of the OpenROV project has been the number of high school classes and students that have taken part. The project provides an incredibly well-rounded education experience: mechanical and electrical engineering, programming, physics, biology, ecology, contributing to an open source community, and just getting outside into nature. 

The OpenROV kit (not Trident - the previous model of kit) is still an excellent tool for education (and other uses that require the hack-ability). We have a long list of well-deserving classrooms that can do wonders with a donated OpenROV kit. The reward pledge at the $1,000 level will further our efforts here. It will allow us to send a kit and build materials to one of these schools. 

If you're a resource-constrained teacher who'd like to be added to this list, please email info@openrov.com with the subject "I'm a teacher!"

Where We're At

Development Prototypes
Development Prototypes

We have spent the last two years developing the Trident, engineering dozens of prototypes to get to what you see today. We are currently working on refining the final design and tuning it for manufacturing with veteran mechanical engineers and industrial designers. We have developed relationships with manufacturing partners for the components and subsystems of Trident and now we need your support to help make it a reality!

             

Risks and challenges

Making things is hard. We know that.

We've spent the past four years, not only designing a better underwater drone, but studying and improving our manufacturing process. We have established a network of advisors and hired people who have done this type of work before. We're being conservative with our ship date of November 2016, but we will also not rush to send you an inferior product.

We're in this for the long run. Our community means everything to us, and making sure that expectations are met and exceeded is our highest priority. As such, we will be forthright and very transparent throughout the entire manufacturing and testing process.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Join the backer mailing list! Stay informed about news, updates, and upcoming expeditions (we've got a few we're *really* excited to share with the community).

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    316 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    NEW REWARD! Beta-Test Pilot
    Become one of the beta-test pilots of the remote internet control feature of Trident. All rewards above $10 will also be included as beta-test pilots.

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    71 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Special-Edition Red OpenROV Beanie!
    We're doing a limited run of special edition beanies for the project. Will be stylish forever, though.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    157 backers
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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $599 or more About $599

    SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    For the OpenROV community, a huge discount on Trident. Includes: drone with standard tether and wireless topside buoy. (Add $350 for Adventure Pack.)

    RETAIL: $1,199

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $799 or more About $799

    OVERFLOW EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    For the OpenROV community, a huge discount on Trident. Includes: drone with standard tether and wireless topside buoy. (Add $350 for Adventure Pack.)

    RETAIL: $1,199

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 300 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $949 or more About $949

    A special Kickstarter price for Trident. Includes: Trident drone with standard tether and wireless topside buoy. (Add $350 for Adventure Pack - more details to the left.)

    RETAIL: $1,199

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 267 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    SPONSOR A HIGH SCHOOL
    We'll send an OpenROV kit (note: a OpenROV 2.8 kit, NOT a Trident model) to a high school classroom in need. See the story section of the campaign for more details.

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    2 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,199 or more About $1,199

    The Trident Underwater Drone. Be one of the first to own and experience life below the surface with Trident. Includes drone, standard tether and wireless topside buoy. (Add $350 for Adventure Pack.)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    24 backers
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  9. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $1,599 or more About $1,599

    NEW REWARD -> THE BUDDY PACK
    2 Trident Underwater Drones - one for you and one for your dive buddy. Comes with standard tether and wireless topside buoy. Add $700 ($350/per) for Adventure Pack - more details to the left.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,699 or more About $3,699

    THE FLEET. For Diving Schools, Boat Rentals, Sailing Schools, Researchers, etc.

    5 Trident Underwater Drones. All include tethers and wifi topside buoys.

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    6 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    EXPEDITION LEVEL.

    Join the OpenROV team on an upcoming expedition off the coast of Northern California. And your own Trident Underwater Drone. Does not include air travel and lodging.

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (46 days)