However, their practical use goes far beyond a summer pastime aboard ship. Either for a simple control of an anchor buoy, a check of the boat’s bottom or for charter companies aiming at a thorough check of the returnees of their fleet, the employment of such an underwater drone might be quite useful. SeaHelp took a closer look at the Gladius Mini manufactured by Chasing Innovation.
The Gladius Mini package, for practical purposes already coloured in ”SeaHelp yellow‟, consists of the drone itself, a transfer cable up to 100 metres long and a receiver-transmitter with a control device. This allows to connect two mobile applications and thus following ”live‟ what Gladius is filming and where it is heading. In about five to ten minutes, you are fueled up an ready to go for your cinematic underwater adventure, and operating the underwater drone is fairly easy, even without any special practice. Only between certain obstacles as, e.g., mooring ropes in the marinas, some danger exists that the generally well manoeuvrable drone might get tangled.
The image quality reaching the surface via the cable is surprisingly good. But, of course, only if the water allows the appropriate view. In case of slightly sandy grounds as, e.g., off the Croatian shore, it works quite well while along the Italian coasts or offshore the Northern Sea or the Baltic Sea, you will most probably face the same problem as in local lakes or rivers.
Five small electric engines are responsible for manoeuvring under water, you can navigate pinpointedly to the right, to the left, to the top or to the bottom and those wanting to, have the additional possibility to fix this little mini submarine under water and independently from the current or, nose-dive it to the back or to the front in order to bring certain objects into focus. In case of too much darkness two headlights provide more light in order to significantly improve the image quality in the immediate vicinity.
Application areas of the Gladius Mini are manifold: It would be a pity just to use it as a mere fun object, even if the exploration of the seabed in the clear waters of the Adriatic gives a lot of pleasure. The only hindrance: The photos and videos taken can be watched instantly but only with difficulty can they be transferred from the Gladius memory to a PC or smartphone. Most probably, the reason for this is a special encryption which might only be revoked effectively via the domestic Wi-Fi. On board, we had our difficulties during the test but maybe one of the Chasing Innovation experts will drop us a hint one of these days.
Our opinion: Around 1,500 euro is quite a lot of money for underwater filming, but when considering safety-related reasons such as the control of anchors or anchor buoys or the bottom of the ship, it might be a worthwhile investment for many skippers sailing in clear waters. And as for the image quality – see for yourself in our SeaHelp travel guide videos.