Fathom One – Modular HD Underwater Drone

Michigan entrepreneurs are crowdfunding a new modular drone system intended to push forward the fields of underwater exploration and education.

John Boss, Danny Vessells, and Matt Gira say that the planet is 71% water and we’ve only explored a small fraction of the underwater space. Their entry into the field of underwater exploration and education is Fathom One, an underwater drone that is affordable and modular. The team is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first production run of their underwater vehicles.

The Fathom One can be controlled through an app that connects to the wifi buoy. The wifi buoy sits on the surface of the water and is tethered to the drone. After an exploration session the video can be uploaded through the Fathom app so other users can see what you’ve found.

Two thrusters sit on the sides of the craft with one in the back. The thrusters themselves are modular so users can replace them with custom thrust modules. This modular design is one of the guiding design factors for the watercraft, making sure that the system itself feels open source and can be modified by the end user. An integrated rail system also allows for the attachment of extra cameras, sensors, or lights.

Overall the Fathom One is 8x6x4 inches in size, and comes with 100 feet of tether. The unit weighs 4.5 pounds and can operate at a maximum depth of 150 feet. The maximum speed is 1.5 meters per second. The battery is expected to last up to one hour on a charge.

Fathom One is a very interesting new entry into the field of underwater exploration. The team’s commitment to underwater education and open source sharing of the user experience is great, and one of my favorite components of this drone is the expectation that end users will be adding their own tools to the existing frame. The crowdfunding campaign ends on September 29, 2016 and if successfully funded units will begin to ship in June, 2017.