Gladius Mini underwater drone overview: an ROV for everybody


The next visitor put up reviewing the Gladius Mini underwater drone was written by Aaron Parnell, proprietor and Chief Pilot of Unmanned Aerial Operations, an aerial imaging, aerial video and drone mapping firm based mostly in North Carolina.

Gladius Mini underwater drone review
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The Gladius Mini is a compact underwater drone designed for underwater photographers — and it might show to be a invaluable device for some small companies — or maybe a neat new merchandise to strive for a drone fanatic seeking to discover worlds beneath us slightly than purely above.

At present underwater drones, sometimes called ROVs, make up a much smaller market than aerial drones, or UAVs. There are only some, relatively-small gamers within the house, together with PowerVision, which makes the PowerRay — an underwater drone launched again in 2017. Then, there’s a competitor known as the Gladius Mini, which is constructed by Shenzhen, China-based Chasing Improvements. This underwater drone units itself other than the (albeit small underwater drone) crowd in its digital camera high quality, its mobility, its velocity and even its worth level.

Whereas the Gladius Mini primarily is marketed towards novice photographers, underwater drones might be an all-purpose device for folks working in and close to water. They serve practical makes use of, equivalent to for individuals who want to examine their boats or fishermen seeking to scout out fish. Underwater drones might be a mechanism for hopeful youngsters in search of sunken treasure, or maybe individuals who simply need to see underwater life however aren’t capable of bodily get underwater themselves. And when you’ve received a curiosity for what lives underwater, this drone is perhaps for you.

Gladius Mini in a nutshell

Gladius Mini underwater drone review
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The Gladius Mini underwater drone piqued my curiosity after I used to be seeking out underwater drones, prioritizing a stability of versatility and affordability. As with all know-how, it may be tempting to purchase the most cost effective possibility, however — particularly with underwater drone know-how — you pay for what you get: poor mobility, poor visibility and poor components. This isn’t the case with the Gladius Mini. 

After I first opened my Gladius Mini, I used to be blown away by the skilled grade really feel of the supplies of the make, in addition to all of the components that made the drone tick. The underwater drone comes with a zipper case, distant controller, and some smaller equipment, equivalent to a mount for the iPad/pill. You’ll want a smartphone, iPad or different pill to run it which isn’t included.

Gladius Mini underwater drone review inside the box controller
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The distant and base station are onerous plastic and are “ruggedized” for out of doors circumstances. They really feel sturdy, are waterproof and may take most drops with none injury. 

Then there’s the Gladius Mini and the tether. In stark distinction to the “mild as a feather” nature of many aerial drones, the Gladius Mini will not be mild, weighing just below 5 kilos and stands in stark distinction to the “mild as a feather” nature of many aerial drones. It is smart, on condition that aerial drones fly, and this one dives. 

Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

How deep does it dive? The drone itself has a most depth of 330 ft (100 m). Nevertheless, the depth potential of the Gladius Mini will depend on the size of your tether. The usual tether for the Gladius Mini is a prolonged 328 toes, which is about the identical peak because the Chicago Water Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. Although, at a depth of 328 toes, it’s probably the visibility could be so low that there wouldn’t be some extent in sending your drone down there. Nevertheless, size provides you the power to journey far-off out of your boat, dock, or shoreline.

It sells for $1,199 on main retailers together with Amazon and B&H Photograph, although it’s fairly frequent to search out it on sale for $999.

Establishing the Gladius Mini underwater drone

Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

Establishing the Gladius Mini is likely one of the greatest drawbacks of this underwater drone. When you’ve finished it as soon as, it’s a breeze, however the preliminary setup is much from that.

You’ll first have to have the drone and the bottom station charged. Then, you’ll have to unravel the tether, join it to the bottom station. The opposite finish of the tether connects to the port atop the Gladius Mini. 

As soon as related, energy on the bottom station in addition up the drone (you’ll comprehend it’s one when the drone’s lights flash).

You’ll have to obtain the Chasing Go 2 app, which you could find on the Apple App Retailer, or Google Play Retailer. After downloading, you’ll login, hook up with the bottom station and switch the distant on. Now you’ll be introduced with the digital camera’s view.

The Gladius Mini digital camera

Gladius Mini camera
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The 4K digital camera offers surprisingly spectacular visibility and element. The sensor is bigger than most drone cameras, permitting for element even at lengthy distances. 

Listed here are some key digital camera specs:

  • 1/2.3 inch CMOS:
  • f3.0 lens with 95° FOV
  • 4.0mm focus
  • ISO Vary: 100-3200
  • Max. Photograph Pixel: 12M(4000*3000)
  • Video Decision: 1920*1080 30fps, 1920*1080 60fps, 1920*1080 120fps or 3840*2160(4K) 30fps

Not solely is the digital camera’s {hardware} spectacular, however the shade stability settings on the app can help you change the blue shade of the picture, the crimson shade of the picture and the inexperienced shade of the picture. That’s vital for making certain high quality footage relying on the water shade. 

You’re in brown water? Lower the crimson and improve the blue. Within the ocean? Lower the blue and improve crimson. This makes for an impressively balanced picture. This software program is one thing I’ve by no means seen earlier than in a digital camera. I’m completely impressed.

The one downside is that the digital camera is in a set place. This implies you’ll be able to’t flip the digital camera up, down or sideways. To go searching, you’ll have to maneuver your entire drone, which — whereas commonplace follow amongst ROV design — could also be robust to get used to for aerial drone pilots. 

Uploaded by Youtuber NorWrangler, right here is a superb pattern of the footage from the Gladius Mini’s 4k digital camera in ocean water. (1) Gladius Mini ROV in southern Norway june 2022 – YouTube

The propellers

Gladius mini propellers
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The Gladius Mini has 5 propellers spanning from entrance to again. There are two ahead thrusters positioned in the back of the drone. These enable for the drone to glide by means of the water, in addition to reverse. The opposite propeller stationed between the again ahead thrusters is a vertical propeller, together with the 2 vertical propellers positioned on the entrance of the drone.  These enable the drone to ascend and descend within the water, in addition to maintain altitude. 

This ROV roams round at speeds as much as 4 Knots (2m/s).

A singular function of this drone is the choice for upward angled positioning of the drone whereas within the water. The entrance vertical thrusters will fireplace more durable than the rear, lifting solely the entrance. You probably have a big boat, you’ll be capable to examine the hull with the Gladius Mini.

Battery life

The battery of the drones is spectacular as nicely, boasting as much as two hours if you’re touring ahead at low velocity. In any other case, it’s 40 minutes when touring ahead at excessive velocity (or maybe someplace within the center, relying on how briskly you’re going. It’ll take about 90 minutes to cost the drone again up once more.

Moreover, the tether that connects the Gladius Mini to the bottom station is a powerful wire that serves as backup, ought to the drone run out of battery earlier than it could return to house, or if it in any other case will get disconnected. It’s secured tightly to each the drone and base station, permitting you to softly pull it again to the floor if mandatory

Base station

Gladius Mini base station
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The bottom station is an unbelievable piece of apparatus. Its predominant function is to transmit indicators over Bluetooth to and from the distant controller, down the tether to the Gladius Mini.

The bottom station consists of two media ports. One is an SD card slot to report the footage and pictures out of your mission. The opposite is an HDMI port that lets you stream your Gladius Mini’s visuals to a TV, laptop computer or different media system.

Gladius Mini underwater drone: Is it value it?

This drone is not any joke, and — whereas it’s marketed on the interest crowd — it’s a device, not a toy.

It’s additionally comparatively inexpensive at a $1,199 worth level, although you might be able to purchase it even cheaper.I received mine frivolously used, so — whereas the value level of $1,199 could also be too excessive for some — the value I paid of $600 made it much more palatable. This isn’t to say it’s not value $1,199. However except you propose on utilizing it usually or have hefty disposable earnings, chances are you’ll need to spend your cash elsewhere.

Whereas it might not be a submarine you’ll be able to climb in, the Gladius Mini permits the pilot to enter the realm of the water for hours. Not being a scuba diver, this was one of the fascinating experiences I’ve had. I’ll almost definitely be buying goggles for the Gladius Mini for additional immersion, that are commonplace HDMI FPV Goggles that hook up with the bottom station’s HDMI port. These goggles can vary in worth from $150 {dollars} to $500 {dollars}.

I’m impressed, I’m happy, however most of all, I had a ton of enjoyable.

-By Aaron Parnell proprietor and Chief Pilot of Unmanned Aerial Operations

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