The BlueROV2 is the world’s most affordable high-performance underwater ROV. With six- and eight-thruster configurations, a number of available accessories, and open source software, it has an unprecedented level of performance, flexibility, and expandability. With several thousand units out in the field, the BlueROV2 is one of the most popular underwater drones on the market!
The BlueROV2 comes partially assembled and requires 6-12 hours of user assembly to complete. During the assembly process, you learn how all of the components of the system work and fit together and it leaves you with the knowledge needed to make upgrades and improvements in the future!
Live HD Camera and Lighting
At the front of the ROV is a high definition (1080p, 30fps) wide-angle low-light camera optimized for use on the ROV. It’s mounted to a tilt mechanism so that the pilot can control the camera tilt to look up or down, even when the ROV is level.
The ROV can be configured with two or four dimmable Lumen Lights, providing up to 6,000 lumens to illuminate the ocean depths.
Vectored Thruster Configuration and the Heavy Configuration
The ROV uses the patented T200 Thrusters in a vectored configuration, providing a high thrust-to-weight ratio and the ability to move precisely in any direction. The ROV comes with six thrusters but is expandable to eight thrusters with the Heavy Configuration Retrofit Kit, providing full six-degree-of-freedom control and feedback stability.
Adjustable gain levels allow the pilot to have precision control at extremely low speeds as well as high power to overcome currents and carry heavy loads.
The BlueROV2 is rated to a depth of 100 meters (330 ft). That rating is limited by a number of factors, including the crush depth of the 4” acrylic watertight enclosure tube, with some safety factor.
Modular Frame Design and Expandability
Designed like a work class or research class ROV, the BlueROV2 has an open frame that carries the electronics and battery enclosures, thrusters, buoyancy foam, and ballast weights. This simple design is robust and expandable, making it easy to attach accessories such as an ROV gripper or scanning sonar. We have a payload skid available that extends the frame further and allows you to attach much larger payloads. We’ve seen people use this for scientific instruments, pressure washer attachments, additional battery enclosures, and more.
The BlueROV2 is designed to be expanded and modified and many of our users have made more dramatic modifications to suit their particular applications. Replacing the standard frame with a custom frame, you can create just about any underwater robot you can imagine!
Open Source Control Software and User Interface Software
The BlueROV2 is controlled by a drone flight controller running the open-source ArduSub subsea vehicle control firmware. As part of the ArduPilot project, it brings to the ROV a vast number of features, capabilities, and an extensive user community.
At the surface, the pilot controls the ROV through a laptop computer and gamepad controller. The open-source QGroundControl application acts as the user interface, providing the live video stream, sensor feedback and information, and the ability to change settings and configuration.
Getting Started with the BlueROV2
The BlueROV2 is designed for both entry-level and advanced ROV users. It comes with everything you need to get in the water except for a few components:
- Laptop – We recommend a medium to high-end model with Windows 10, Mac, or Linux operating systems. There are also some compatible tablets including the Windows Surface tablets. iOS and Android are not officially supported at this time.
- Gamepad Controller – We recommend the Xbox One controller or the Logitech F310 or F710 controllers.
- Battery – We recommend our 14.8v, 18Ah lithium-ion battery for the best battery life, but we can’t ship it to all locations! There are a number of other compatible batteries that can be used as well. We’d recommend getting a few for extended operation.
- Battery Charger – We have a recommended charger as well, but any lithium-ion battery charger that can handle your battery will work!
Available Options, Add-ons, and Accessories
First of all, there are a few configurable options that you’ll have to choose:
- The Fathom Tether length can be selected from 25 meters all the way up to 300 meters. The length you go depends on how deep and how far you want to go. For lengths over 100 meters, we’d recommend the Fathom Spool to make it easier to manage.
- The lights are available in 2-light and 4-light configurations. If you plan to do a lot of work in poor lighting conditions or at night, you might want the 4-light configuration.
Once you’ve got a solid grip on the basics, there are countless ways to expand your BlueROV2! We have a few core accessories:
- The Newton Gripper allows you to manipulate and retrieve objects underwater
- The Fathom Spool makes it easier to transport and use the tether cable
- The Heavy Configuration Retrofit Kit adds two thrusters and more buoyancy for additional stability and payload carrying capacity
- The Ping360 Scanning Sonar makes it easier to navigate in low visibility water conditions and locate underwater objects
- The Water Linked Underwater GPS Kit provides a system for map-based positioning and navigation
If you’re looking to customize your ROV even further and add additional sensors, we recommend the following resources:
- ArduSub.com has the documentation and developer guide for ArduSub, the software that controls the ROV.
- The BlueROV2 section of our forums have many users who have made significant modifications and can provide guidance and ideas.
- Our BlueROV2 Payload Skid product provides additional room on the ROV.
- Many of our Distributors specialize in BlueROV2 customizations and modifications!