Best underwater drone?

Shwuno

New member
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Messages
2
Morning guys - I’m new to this forum and the world of drones! I am looking at purchasing a drone but due to the cost I just want to make sure I make the correct decision.

My requirements for the drone is as follows:
  1. 4K video quality
  2. minimum 100m depth rating - preferably a longer than 100m tether
  3. Able to handle high tidal speeds (highest in my area is 5.25 knots)
  4. Cost - under USD7k
  5. Claw required either with initial package or aftermarket
  6. minimum battery life of 3 hours
In light of the above I was wondering if you can let me know what you think the best drone would be for me? I was initially looking at the titan t1 but looking on this forum it may not be the best option. Additionally if you are aware of any drones which are not yet for sale which meet the above requirements please add these into the recommendation.

Many thanks
Shwuno
 

Eternal Angler

Administrator
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
259
My recommendation would be the Fifish V6s if you want a stable underwater drone with a claw, every video I've seen of the M2 still looks shaky, like this recent one I've seen here posted on the Chasing Facebook Group.


I talk with Jacky Yang, the CMO of Chasing and he said they're going to be working on improving the stability of the M2, so hopefully with time there'll be some major improvements... The M2 is a new platform while the Fifish V6 is an older platform. QYSEA was having problems with the Fifish V6's stability in the ocean in the past considering Dustin Dunill's old video, but now after seeing numerous V6s videos, it seems they've improved the stability.

There's one Facebook user by the name of Austin that has posted numerous videos of the V6s with the claw, showing how stable it is


There's of course this video, which shows a short comparison test between the two, the M2 seems to drop down in the water column when it pans down, and rotating, the M2 drifts off and bangs into some coral. The M2 also had a GoPro on it too, where the extra weight could of thrown it off a bit...


QYSEA also has that "active distance lock system" that enables the Fifish to lock its position a fixed distance from an object it is inspecting without being adversely affected or knocked off course by tides, currents, or other turbulence. Now that active distance lock system may just be for the V6 Plus and not for the V6s, but I'm not so sure...

Something you have to consider too, as rep named Choro from QYSEA explained to me, say you're deep down in the sea, you're filming around the 2 hour mark and come across a rare moment like a whale or some valuable object you need to pick up with the claw... The M2 is rated at 2-4 hour dive time, so what I'm getting at is, you may lose a chance to film that whale or pickup a particular object because you're running low on battery time, while the V6s is rated at 6 hours which can go on for a lot longer time.

Then there's the thought, well if you plan on filming at freshwater lakes, that isn't as deep and you're just look for a drone with replaceable batteries, well the M2 might be what you want. The M2 is honestly what I wanted and I had bought it from Urban Drones recently, but after seeing more and more videos showing the shakiness, I cancelled and decided to hold off. Never know, I still may buy the M2 later if they can improve the stability.

Geneinno T1 is a solid drone, but with the claw it was shown to lean forward too much, they've recently made a new claw with better buoyancy, but it's not out yet. Problem is, the T1 can't do lateral movement or rotate like the V6s or M2 can, which could be very valuable for using the claw.

And you might even want to contact QYSEA about the V6 Plus, which I heard will be around $7k, might have even more features you're looking for...

Will Turner from Geneinno said they're working on the Geneinno T1 Pro which will have all the features as the M2, but no word on release date.

You also have to consider memory storage, the M2 has removable SD card, does the V6s have built in memory? On BH Photo it's supposedly 32 micro sd card, not so sure though... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1574094-REG/qysea_yr010bc94002405_fifish_v6s.html/specs
 
Last edited:

Shwuno

New member
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Messages
2
Geeat
My recommendation would be the Fifish V6s if you want a stable underwater drone with a claw, every video I've seen of the M2 still looks shaky, like this recent one I've seen here posted on the Chasing Facebook Group.


I talk with Jacky Yang, the CMO of Chasing and he said they're going to be working on improving the stability of the M2, so hopefully with time there'll be some major improvements... The M2 is a new platform while the Fifish V6 is an older platform. QYSEA was having problems with the Fifish V6's stability in the ocean in the past considering Dustin Dunill's old video, but now after seeing numerous V6s videos, it seems they've improved the stability.

There's one Facebook user by the name of Austin that has posted numerous videos of the V6s with the claw, showing how stable it is


There's of course this video, which shows a short comparison test between the two, the M2 seems to drop down in the water column when it pans down, and rotating, the M2 drifts off and bangs into some coral. The M2 also had a GoPro on it too, where the extra weight could of thrown it off a bit...


QYSEA also has that "active distance lock system" that enables the Fifish to lock its position a fixed distance from an object it is inspecting without being adversely affected or knocked off course by tides, currents, or other turbulence. Now that active distance lock system may just be for the V6 Plus and not for the V6s, but I'm not so sure...

Something you have to consider too, as rep named Choro from QYSEA explained to me, say you're deep down in the sea, you're filming around the 2 hour mark and come across a rare moment like a whale or some valuable object you need to pick up with the claw... The M2 is rated at 2-4 hour dive time, so what I'm getting at is, you may lose a chance to film that whale or pickup a particular object because you're running low on battery time, while the V6s is rated at 6 hours which can go on for a lot longer time.

Then there's the thought, well if you plan on filming at freshwater lakes, that isn't as deep and you're just look for a drone with replaceable batteries, well the M2 might be what you want. The M2 is honestly what I wanted and I had bought it from Urban Drones recently, but after seeing more and more videos showing the shakiness, I cancelled and decided to hold off. Never know, I still may buy the M2 later if they can improve the stability.

Geneinno T1 is a solid drone, but with the claw it was shown to lean forward too much, they've recently made a new claw with better buoyancy, but it's not out yet. Problem is, the T1 can't do lateral movement or rotate like the V6s or M2 can, which could be very valuable for using the claw.

And you might even want to contact QYSEA about the V6 Plus, which I heard will be around $7k, might have even more features you're looking for...

Will Turner from Geneinno said they're working on the Geneinno T1 Pro which will have all the features as the M2, but no word on release date.

You also have to consider memory storage, the M2 has removable SD card, does the V6s have built in memory? On BH Photo it's supposedly 32 micro sd card, not so sure though... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1574094-REG/qysea_yr010bc94002405_fifish_v6s.html/specs
Great thanks very much for the detailed response. It is seeming like the more I find out about these drones the more I should be patient for the next wave of products, especially looking at the CES write ups. I have contacted Ffish about their new drones (plus and W6) to see what additional information I can find as this company seems to be the one to go with. I will let you know if I find out anything useful!
 

CBW70

New member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
1
I got the Chasing M2 last week, and are mostly positive about it, but there is absolutely room for improvement.

My background is that I sins 2013 have commercially flown drones for a living. Most of them are DJI, one SenseFly and a couple of other drones past the years. DJI are the default standard for good and bad.

I looked at both FIFish V6 and Chasing M2, and I didn´t have possibility to try neither of them out before I order one. My plan is to find out if this new ROV based on flightcontroller from drones can be a possibly service that I can offer along side my normal drone service.

I went with the Chasing M2 for serval reason.

It have 8 thrusters, with in my opinion is better than 6. FIFish has also a model with 8 thrusters, (zen1) but it is bigger and in another price class.

FiFish V2 have a bigger battery, but it is not possible to change. Like a Drone, the maximum runtime is very optimistic and the possibility to have more batteries at hand appeals to me.

The Chasing M2 has 5 mounting places for different accessories in the bottom and 5 at the top. That makes it easy to mount gopro cameras, extra light and so on.

Chasing has from the start made a electric Reel – and what a delight it is to reel 200 meter cable up on it.

I don´t know if FIFish have SD card, but the M2 has and it is pretty easy to change SD card and get video and photos out of it.

My finding so far:

I am impress over the power in the M2. It is not very big, and still it move 3 knot underwater witch is pretty fast. It could actually pull my 10 years old daughter around in our pool, like a underwater scooter.

I tried it in a big lake, and if your are moving around and sometimes use the light, then it is no more that max 2 hours. (Forget the marketing 4 hours statement) I look forward to getting the extended batty with 200 wh. Then it will go for 4 hours.

I am somewhat suspired how difficult it is to navigate the M2. I have several thousand flight hours on drones under my belt, but they are much easier to control than a ROV. I hope with practice it get easier, but it is as you say a complete other ballgame to navigate a ROV than a drone (airborne drone)


The Chasing M2 App is at the very best a poor beta app. There are so much that are missing. The settings menu is very limited and the App crash from time to time. It would be VERY helpful if the small 3D model of the M2 in left corner was bigger so you actually could see how the ROV is posited in the water, when visibility is poor. I really miss possibility to adjust the steering controls. Some of them are very over sensitive and it makes it harder to control the M2 as you like.

The camera has a very poor image stabilization, if you compare with GoPro 7 or 8. Definitely room for improvements.

That it´s for now. I am not unhappy with the M2 certainly not, and I do think that with the FiFish V6 ore other small ROV I will have similar problems. I am positive, of the future of small ROV. They are already much better than the first Drones (Phantom 1 and flame wheel) witch I started my drone business with.
 

RM-2020

New member
Joined
Sep 5, 2020
Messages
1
Hi all,

First time posting on the forum, and new to marine ROVs in general, so hoping to tap some of the knowledge of this group. I have a very similar question and list of specs, so hoping to piggyback on this thread. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

I’ve spent the last few weeks reading forums/review, watching videos, etc, to get to a decision on a drone to start with. Down the road I might try to build my own, but very happy to start with something commercially available to find my feet. What I’m looking for is a unit that: 1) is relatively full-featured and current (i.e. camera, nice thruster/movement set up, etc), 2) reliable (this is where experiences from this group would be a huge help), 3) up to the $2-3k USD price range (lower than the OPs $7k), and 4) a reasonably open system in terms of control, firmware, capturing on board sensor data, testing connectivity options, etc, to allow for experimentation on that front. This last piece is particularly important, and seems to be rarely covered elsewhere.

Based on everything I’ve looked into, the FiFish V6 seems like it ticks a lot of those boxes, except maybe for #4. It seems like their controller and app are a fairly closed system, which could be a deal breaker. The Chasing M2 might be similar? Whereas the Sofar Trident (and all the mods, alternative control apps, etc that have been developed for it) is appealing on many fronts, but maybe somewhat weaker on features. BlueROV is intriguing, though likely too pricey/more than I need, and I read some comments that alluded to issues with the ArduSub software? The Navatics Mito is in the ballpark it seems, though I’m wary of the WiFi buoy connectivity approach (in terms of signal stability, but also just drone retrievability).

So all of that being said, I’d greatly appreciate any feedback on the above. Right now I think I’m basically choosing between the FiFish and Trident, but could well be missing something important. I like the connectivity options for the Trident, and that it can be fully controlled from a phone-based app that connects directly to the system WiFi (and it’s open software more broadly), as opposed to running through a closed system with a proprietary controller. But, there seem to be better drones out there now from a feature/price perspective. Any thoughts on this, or potential options I might not have considered? Thanks!
 
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