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BlueROV2: Affordable Underwater Drone to Explore the Depths

company logo for Blue Robotics Blue Robotics

Country: United States of America

Year: 2016


The BlueROV2 by Blue Robotics is an affordable underwater drone that is high-performance, customizable, expandable, and user-friendly.

Status: Commercially available

Operation: Teleoperation

Robot Type / Domain: Research

Tasks: Inspections, Aquaculture, Adventure, Research, Exploration, & More

Whimsical Intro (by addoobot)

Dive into customization with the BlueROV2! Choose the modules that match your adventurous spirit. More lights? Additional thrusters? Sonars? A gripper? Expand your capabilities—but maybe not as much as the one in the image.

More Videos

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Overview of the BlueROV2 underwater drone
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A tour of the Blue Robotics headquarters in California
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Add-on: Smallest doppler velocity log - DVL A50
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Overview of the T200 thruster by Blue Robotics

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Exploring the Depths with BlueROV2: The Affordable and High-Performance Underwater Drone

If you want an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) that is affordable yet does not compromise on performance, and is also expandable and modular to allow for customization and various add-ons, then the BlueROV2 is highly suitable. With its open-source software and powerful performance, the ROV is ideal not only for hobbyists and researchers but also for professionals carrying out all sorts of underwater missions. 

Applications and Use Cases: Where BlueROV2 Shines

Thanks to its modular and expandable design, this versatile ROV can perform in various underwater environments and for a variety of tasks. For example, it can be utilized for scientific research or be used by professionals to inspect underwater infrastructure. 

The modular frame of BlueROV2 enables it to be equipped with numerous tools and add-ons, making it suitable for specialized tasks. For example, utilizing its HD camera and multiple 1500-lumen lights allows the ROV to perform visual inspection in dark spaces. For exploration, a sonar can be utilized to acoustically locate targets, especially if visibility is poor. Additionally, the ROV can be equipped with a gripper for interacting with underwater objects. As for search and rescue missions, the ROV can be fitted with sonars, the gripper, and a heavy configuration retrofit kit to increase the mission's success. Blue Robotics also offers a payload skid to extend the frame which allows for a larger payload capacity.

What Makes the BlueROV2 Special

Not only is this ROV celebrated for its affordability and modularity, but it is also user-friendly with open-access software and has impressive capabilities for marine exploration. The high-definition camera and adjustable lighting on the ROV enhances the visibility and quality of the underwater footage. This is particularly helpful with detailed inspections and vivid documentation of marine life.

In addition, the BlueROV2 incorporates the T200 thrusters, which are patented by Blue Robotics. The vectored configuration of the thrusters on the ROV helps it with exceptional maneuverability and precision, which are vital when operating in challenging and often unpredictable underwater environments. Six thrusters are used in the ROV, but there is the option for incorporating eight thrusters. 

Limitations of the BlueROV2

This ROV is not intended for heavy industrial applications, especially those requiring extended periods of operation, large payloads, or complex manipulation of objects. That said, the BlueROV2 can still handle industrial applications with normal operations lasting about 2 hours and up to 4 hours for lighter operations (battery changes are quick - about 30 seconds). The ROV can also reach depths of up to 300 meters when equipped with Blue Robotics' aluminum enclosures.

Brief History

The journey of Blue Robotics started in 2014 when they led a successful Kickstarter campaign and raised over $100,000. They addressed a significant gap in the marine robotics market; i.e., providing low-cost and durable thrusters for underwater vehicles. This gap became apparent during an ambitious project to create a solar-powered unmanned surface vessel that was intended to cross from California to Hawaii. The founders had difficulties finding suitable thrusters, which led them to develop their own solution, now very popular. 

Since the start of this journey, the company has expanded its product lineup and has sold several thousands of its BlueROV2. 

Technical Specifications

Size: 457L  338W  254H (mm)

Size: 17.992L  13.307W  10.000H (in)

Max. Payload: 1.4 kg

Max. Payload: 3.086 lbs

Max. Depth: 984.252 ft

Max. Depth: 300 m

Max. Speed: 1.5 m/s

Max. Speed: 4.921 ft/s

Battery Operated? Yes

Average Runtime: 2 hr(s)

Max. Runtime: 4 hr(s)

Battery Recharge Time: N/A

Min. Weight in Air: 9 kg

Min. Weight in Air: 19.842 lbs

Manipulation: gripper / hand

IP Rating: N/A

Operating Temperature: 0 ℃ to 30 ℃

Operating Temperature: 32.000 ℉ to 86.000 ℉

Open-source? Yes

Price: $4250 USD

Sensors: IMU • Compass • Pressure/Depth and Temperature Sensor (external) • Internal pressure • Current and Voltage Sensing • Leak Sensor • Low-Light HD USB Camera

Controller & Computing: Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB) w/ BlueOS

Thrusters: 6 thrusters (4 vectored, 2 vertical)

Tether: Length: 25-300 m

Battery: Batteries can be changed in about 30 seconds (w/ Blue Robotics 15.6Ah battery)

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Please visit the official website for more accurate, up-to-date, and complete information on this post. Visit website   External Link Icon Specifications   External Link Icon

Comment by addoobot - Our Perspective

We believe the BlueROV2 is simply awesome! The affordability of this ROV combined with its modular and expandable features means it has something for everyone. Whether it's hobbyists who want to take the ROV for an adventure, researchers leveraging its open-source software, professionals searching for shipwrecks, or individuals inspecting the area beneath their boats, the BlueROV2 meets a wide range of needs. 

addoorable score:
It will be nice to make an underwater drone of this size look 'addoorable', but practicality and functionality must take precedence. What score would you give it? Let us know below.

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