Drones may soon be found underwater. A group of Trident drones are set to be deployed to search the mysteries of the deep in various locations all over the world. Trident drones are relatively small, rectangular machines designed for underwater exploration, and each of these drones will have its own mission, as defined by their assigned scientists.
The drones are being distributed thanks to the National Geographic’s OpenROV project, which aims to open the ocean to a larger audience through the cameras of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The project is already expected to distribute a thousand units of Trident drones over the next year via its companion site OpenExplorer.
Those tridents, which have already been deployed are now being used for a wide variety of research tasks all over the world. Here are just a few examples:
The Mexican Caribbean
Trident drones are now being used to protect fish stocks in the Mexican Caribbean. The Mexican non-profit organization COBI is using Trident drones to conserve local marine areas and, at the same time, prevent over-fishing by identifying spawning sites of various local fish.
Prior to the arrival of the Trident Drone, COBI’s researchers could only map areas that they have access to. After the addition of the drone, however, their researchers were able to explore previously inaccessible areas, which in turn helped to improve their conservation efforts.
Another one of the recipients of the Trident drones were volunteers at Pelican Cove on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. The volunteers used their drones to track changes in the marine ecosystem that they are studying, which allows them to track environmental factors, such as changing sea temperature, rising water levels as well as changes in water acidity.
It’s also worth mentioning that Pelican Cove is part of a marine protected area that covers a million miles, and because of its size, monitoring the area had been very difficult. With the addition of the new Trident drones, however, their task became a lot easier.
In New England, a local team based at Acadia National Park are putting temperature loggers inside live mussels to track ocean acidification and temperature changes. With the addition of a Trident drone, the team now has a new tool to help them in their work.
Furthermore, not only are the researchers using the drone to gather data, they are also using it as an educational tool to help students and visitors learn about the local marine ecosystem.
Aside from marine conservation and research, the Trident drones may also be used to find lost underwater relics. A research team from the Octopus Foundation are using their Trident to explore the Mediterranean to find underwater wrecks on the seafloor.
It’s estimated there may be around 750,000 wrecks on the sea floor, including lost harbors and ancient ships, and the team are using their Trident to locate some of these.
Other Underwater Drones
The Trident is the most well-known underwater drone, but it is hardly the only one of its kind. Other popular underwater drones include the Fathom One, the Deep Trekker DTG2 and the Loon Copter. Although such drones are usually found among researchers and marine biologists, more commercial variants are making their way into the market, which suggests that ordinary consumers may soon have access to their very own underwater drones.