Underwater Autonomous Tech at CES

Drones and self-driving cars continue to be all the rage at CES, the former Consumer Electronics Show, but autonomous technology is also making its way into underwater drones.

One trend that has been picking up at CES in recent years is that of underwater drones, or personal ROVs (remotely operated vehicles). These are essentially smaller, cheaper versions of vehicles that have been used for years by the oil and gas industry and others for underwater exploration.

A couple of years ago, there were one or two systems on display. This year, they were numerous, taking up a sizable chunk of the show’s drone hall.

One of the pioneers of such systems is Sublue, which sells WhiteShark Max, an optionally tethered underwater drone with six motors.


The company started doing underwater inspection, anti-explosive work and other commercial jobs. Two years ago, it turned its attention to the commercial world and first got attention by building small motors that pull swimmers through the water, enabling them to stay under longer.

“It’s quite a big value if we can utilize some of this robotic technology, including dynamic motion control, or visual AI. That’s why we are coming into this market, and we look forward to bring some change to this very old and conventional market,” says Sublue Vice President Jun Li.

Li says competition in the market is good because it will help boost awareness of the state of the oceans, which are warming and increasingly polluted.

Next year, the company plans to have an autonomous ROV that can follow a diver around, something that existed only in prototype form at this year’s show.

By Brett Davis, AUSI

Note: This article was edited by ON&T Staff. For the full-length article, click here.

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