World’s Deepest Underwater Drone may hold key to The Great Barrier Reef’s Survival

By Women Love Tech
on 14 November 2017

Christine Spiten is the Chief Global Strategist for Blueye Robotics, and the co-founder of the company which launched in 2015 to develop the world’s finest underwater drone for ocean exploration. Here, Christine shares with Women Love Tech the inspiration behind her amazing innovation.

‘The ocean covers 70 per cent of the earth’s surface. Yet, we know less about the ocean floor than we know about the surface on Mars.’

In 2015, our exceptional team at Blueye Robotics set out to give everyone every-where access to the beauty and mysteries that lies below the ocean’s surface.

Passion for the ocean

Driven by a passion for the ocean and a desire to create the best possible under-water experience, we’ve developed the Blueye Pioneer, the first professional-grade underwater drone for the “prosumer” market. We see the Pioneer being used by professionals and consumers alike. For consumers, it was our inspiration to build a really robust solution so that anyone using the Pioneer would have a very real and close connection to the ocean. This unique technology revolutionises the way we record, share and understand the fragile ecosystem that lies deep beneath the water, making it a very useful tool for professionals who want to look at those deeper waters that divers simply cannot reach without expensive underwater equipment.

Underwater research will help the reef

Leveraging underwater research to help the reef

Beginning from today (November 14), the Blueye Pioneer will be used for the Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRL) on a 21-day expedition to explore the Reef’s most remote, unexplored reaches. Aided by this unique underwater technology, a team of world-renowned reef scientists led by Dr. Dean Miller and John Rumney of the Great Barrier Reef Legacy, and joined by Charlie Veron, the world’s leading expert on coral reefs, will assess the region’s declining coral reef corridor and study those corals that may hold the secret to surviving in a warming ocean.

When we spoke to Dean Miller from the GBRL organisation, he told us that any expedition into a remote region where there has been very little access, always offers the chance of finding something unexpected. However, what the GBRL team is hoping to find are the coral survivors, or the species that are more heat tolerant than others and seem to be able to cope with warmer water temperatures. They know that some of corals will not be as highly adapted to this type of stress, and the team will be working hard to identify both the corals that are making it through and the ones that aren’t doing so well. The Pioneer drone, which can go down to 150 meters—that’s eight times deeper than a regular scuba diver—will give the team the ability to look at some of the deeper coral reefs and see how they have survived through the last two mass bleaching events.

Drone Technology for Everyone

Blueye Pioneer’s HD 1080 wide-angle video camera works in low-light conditions, which gives explorers the advantage of seeing true-colour image and over-comes the problem of colors changing below 16 feet underwater. Weighing just 8kg (17 lbs.), it travels over 5 knots and has a battery life of two hours. It’s very easy to use and operates across iOs and Android systems by anyone with a smartphone or tablet. Having the lowest price point for a high-end system of this kind, it sells for $6,000.

As Pioneer makes its debut in Australia, its role is integral to the collaborative expedition that hopes answer the big questions: Which corals have survived? Where have they survived? How have they survived? These answers will help us determine the future health of the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs worldwide.

For more information or to purchase a Pioneer drone visit:

Christine Spiten is a Chief Global Strategist for Blueye Robotics, and is the co-founder of the company which launched in 2015 to develop the world’s finest underwater drone for ocean exploration. Christine combines her passion for technology, sustainable business strategy and the environment to empower exploration and increase awareness about the ocean. She is driven by the vision that maritime technology can revolutionise the way we take care of the sea.

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