First Beta Units in the Field
I’m very happy to say that we’ve completed production of the first beta units, which all look great. Thanks to everyone who replied to our call for beta users. We were thrilled to send the first couple beta units out, and will begin shipping additional ones to users this week! We’re planning to ramp our production rate up over the rest of this year to make sure we can maintain quality standards as volume increases, and if things continue to go well we expect to have most Kickstarter rewards fulfilled by February. Again, we’re taking our time to make sure the product is consistently high quality. We don’t want to rush through the final steps.
We appreciate so many people being patient with us as we’ve gone through the paces of building a robust assembly process, and we hope people will be very happy with the result. Speaking of robustness...
As we’ve gotten the first few beta units out into the field, we’ve already started to get some amazing footage back. Dominik Fretz, a long-time OpenROV community member, recently met up with some shark researchers in Mexico and brought a Trident beta unit with him to test. The footage speaks for itself (be sure to watch until the end), and we are excited about how much other amazing footage will start popping up as we ship more of these units out.
Aside from the obvious interest of the footage itself, we hope you’ll also appreciate the quality of the video shot from Trident. We’ve spent painstaking amounts of time designing a camera that is optimized specifically for underwater use, and it has really paid off. Also, the dives during this expedition ended up delivering some amazing (albeit, unusual) test data for the durability of Trident. This same vehicle went on to complete a deep dive to nearly 100m shortly after the video above was taken.
As we mentioned in our last update, we hosted an open house at our lab in Berkeley last month, which went very well. It was great to meet a number of you there. A few other backers have taken us up on our invitation to visit the lab in Berkeley, including one of our first backers, Karyn Traphagen. With her permission, I’m reposting her feedback about her visit:
“If you have ever wondered if the Trident ROV would be something great to own-- let me assure you, it is, and you should. I had a wonderful time at the Openrov lab this afternoon and was amazed by how the Trident performs (and all the things the team is working on to make it even more terrific). I am so very proud to be a backer.”
As part of the beta program, we have a number of community members who are helping us organize and run “beta expeditions” in different parts of the world which will be local and inclusive. This will be an opportunity to test out the product before yours arrives, but also to meet more of the OpenROV community and find friends for future adventures and exploration. By clicking the “Follow” button on these OpenExplorer expeditions, you will be notified by email of future updates and demo days.
Here’s a list of the current beta expeditions:
Seattle - Documenting Sea Star Wasting Syndrome https://openexplorer.com/expedition/stormdrainsandstarfish
Vancouver - Jurassic Sponge Conservation https://openexplorer.com/expedition/jurassicspongeconservation
San Francisco - Understanding Leopard Shark Deaths in SF Bay https://openexplorer.com/expedition/leopardsharks
San Diego - Citizen Science on the HMS Yukon
Baltimore - Experience Baltimore’s Inner Harbor https://www.openexplorer.com/expedition/experiencebaltimore
South Florida - Deepwater Lionfish Surveys https://www.openexplorer.com/expedition/deepwaterlionfishsurvey
Minneapolis - Coming soon...
Milwaukee/Madison - Coming soon...
New York - Coming soon...
Boston - Coming soon...
Sydney - Coming soon...
London - Coming soon…
We hope to meet more of you in person as these expeditions begin popping up. It’s been a pleasure to chat with many of you via email about the incredible things you hope to use Trident for, and we’re really looking forward to getting more footage from deployments around the world. OpenROV is people-powered: we see Trident as just one part of a much larger exploration platform that allows a community of citizen explorers to be at the forefront of discovery and engagement. We’ll be in touch with more information about production rate as we continue to produce more units. Please let us know if you have any questions. More soon!