Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone

I love the idea of going out into the ocean and explore the world under the water line, but thanks to Jaws, I am apprehensive for obvious reason. If you are like me, then you will like idea of Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone. It is not an underwater drone. It is an unmanned sea vehicle, or USV, designed with a 360-degree panoramic camera below its hull.

Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone
Seen here is a 1/4 scale prototype.

With Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone, you will be able to enjoy “remote snorkeling” over extremely long distances with the real-time panoramic footage streamed from the vessel. It is equipped solar panel so it could keep going without worry about recharging (but optional battery can be thrown in to counter poor light condition), and like many drones of such nature, it can navigate on its own based on a preset route using GPS.

Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone
The 360-degree camera which can be manipulated by the user.

Users can connect directly to the SurfaceWalker using a smartphone and thanks to the 3G connectivity, Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone can be operated from virtually anywhere in the world. So, theoretically speaking, you could drop this thing off the coast and head back home and still be able to explore the underwater world.

Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone
Modes of operation available: via smartphone or a dedicated controller.

Users will be able to remotely control the camera to view it at any angle. Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone uses a proprietary image compression technology to enable it to stream at a modest 300 Kbps bandwidth without sacrificing quality. While it sounds like fun, Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone has a more important mission.

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Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone
The drone can be used for underwater data collection too.

It is actually developed as a device for monitoring the condition of the sea, collecting data along the way for researchers to visualize any change of the natural environment, such as understanding the issue of declining coral reefs, for example. Notwithstanding this purpose, you can acquire this cool drone for your own leisure or research purposes.

That being said, you can do so by pre-ordering it on Kickstarter. For 120,000 Yen (around US$1,057), you can secure a Picam360 SurfaceWalker Aquatic Drone without camera, or 180,000 Yen (about US$1,586) to bag yourself a unit with cameras on both the bottom and the top of the vessel. The campaign is funded, though not overwhelmingly, but it is a pre-order, alight.

All images courtesy of Picam360.