Gladius Mini underwater drone evaluate: an ROV for everybody


The next visitor submit 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 helpful device for some small companies — or maybe a neat new merchandise to attempt for a drone fanatic trying to discover worlds beneath us relatively than purely above.

At the moment underwater drones, also known as ROVs, make up a much smaller market than aerial drones, or UAVs. There are just a few, relatively-small gamers within the area, together with PowerVision, which makes the PowerRay — an underwater drone launched again in 2017. Then, there’s a competitor referred to 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 pace and even its value level.

Whereas the Gladius Mini primarily is marketed towards beginner photographers, underwater drones might be an all-purpose device for individuals working in and close to water. They serve useful makes use of, corresponding to for individuals who want to examine their boats or fishermen trying to scout out fish. Underwater drones could possibly be a mechanism for hopeful youngsters in search of sunken treasure, or maybe individuals who simply need to see underwater life however aren’t in a position to bodily get underwater themselves. And if you happen to’ve acquired 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 looking for underwater drones, prioritizing a steadiness 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 elements. 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 elements that made the drone tick. The underwater drone comes with a zipper case, distant controller, and some smaller equipment, corresponding 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 outside circumstances. They really feel sturdy, are waterproof and might 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 sensible, 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). Nonetheless, the depth potential of the Gladius Mini is determined by the size of your tether. The usual tether for the Gladius Mini is a prolonged 328 ft, which is about the identical top because the Chicago Water Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. Although, at a depth of 328 ft, it’s seemingly the visibility can be so low that there wouldn’t be a degree in sending your drone down there. Nonetheless, size offers you the flexibility to journey distant 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 widespread to seek out it on sale for $999.

Organising the Gladius Mini underwater drone

Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

Organising the Gladius Mini is likely one of the largest drawbacks of this underwater drone. When you’ve executed 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 linked, energy on the bottom station besides up the drone (you’ll realize it’s one when the drone’s lights flash).

You’ll have to obtain the Chasing Go 2 app, which yow will discover on the Apple App Retailer, or Google Play Retailer. After downloading, you’ll login, connect 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 below 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 steadiness settings on the app can help you change the blue shade of the picture, the pink 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 pink and enhance the blue. Within the ocean? Lower the blue and enhance pink. 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 totally impressed.

The one disadvantage 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 all the drone, which — whereas normal observe amongst ROV design — could also be robust to get used to for aerial drone pilots. 

Uploaded by Youtuber NorWrangler, right here is a wonderful 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 behind the drone. These enable for the drone to glide via 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 novel characteristic 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. If in case you have a big boat, you’ll have the ability 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 once you’re touring ahead at low pace. In any other case, it’s 40 minutes when touring ahead at excessive pace (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 twine that serves as backup, ought to the drone run out of battery earlier than it may possibly 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 vital

Base station

Gladius Mini base station
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Parnell.

The bottom station is an unbelievable piece of kit. Its important goal is to transmit alerts over Bluetooth to and from the distant controller, down the tether to the Gladius Mini.

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

Gladius Mini underwater drone: Is it price it?

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

It’s additionally comparatively inexpensive at a $1,199 value level, although you might be able to purchase it even cheaper.I acquired 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 price $1,199. However except you intend on utilizing it usually or have hefty disposable earnings, you might need to spend your cash elsewhere.

Whereas it will 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 some of the fascinating experiences I’ve had. I’ll most certainly be buying goggles for the Gladius Mini for additional immersion, that are normal HDMI FPV Goggles that connect with the bottom station’s HDMI port. These goggles can vary in value from $150 {dollars} to $500 {dollars}.

I’m impressed, I’m glad, 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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