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Thanks to PowerRay, fishing just got easy

Konstantin Sheiko
January 26, 2018

Who needs fishing prowess and luck when you have remote-controlled, sonar-equipped, bait dropping, mini-submersible at your disposal? Because with the new PowerRay underwater drone, that's exactly what you get.

The PowerRay UUV comes from Beijing-based drone manufacturer PowerVision, makers of the PowerEgg and PowerEye airborne drones. The PowerRay official debut was at CES in January 2017; however, a technical issue with their display tank springing a leak prevented the company from showing off the device in its natural environment.

However, at the company's launch party at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco in 2017, the attendees were afforded a close-up view of the new drones. According to experts’ opinion, the Rays looked to be quite seaworthy. They quietly moved through the aquarium exhibit without leaving much of a wake or perturbing the sea fauna occupants, who seemed to take little notice.

So far, the primary concern with the PowerRay is the 50-70 meter long umbilical control cord, which seems like it could easily tangle itself around underwater obstacles. PowerVision USA CEO, Chih-Che Tsai, elaborated on the potential hazard, explaining that the company is already working on a solution for the issue. Tsai suggests one approach is to remotely disconnect the cord, allowing the drone to float back up to the surface.

Although there are tech issues with the PowerRay device, it is undoubtedly a new and innovative product. Unfortunately, the electronics manufacturers have a tendency to flock toward producing already popular products to maximize their gains and minimize the risks. While innovations certainly occur, it is far more common to see countless versions of relatively similar products. Obviously developing, testing, manufacturing, and marketing a product adds-up to some big expenses, and this risk becomes easier to justify if the product has an established demand.

Naturally, this lack of innovative approaches generally results in very crowded markets with countless headphones, Bluetooth speakers, digital cameras, or other products looking for a slight edge over the competition through advanced features or lower prices. In this respect, the PowerRay underwater drone is not concerned with hopping on an already crowded bandwagon. In fact, it belongs to one of those fun and fascinating electronic gadgets that are designed for a very specific niche market.

If you are a fisherman, videographer, photographer, or just an underwater enthusiast, the Power Vision PowerRay should certainly warrant a closer look. Quality underwater photography and videography was once limited to expensive custom rigs only accessible to film crews with a big budget. Now, products like the PowerRay bring exceptional quality and flexibility to even the hobbyist. And, you do not even have to get wet.

The PowerRay Underwater robot weighs about 8.4 pounds in air. At 18.3 x 10.6 x 5.0 inches, it is about the size of two large laptop computers stacked together. It is quite a durable unit capable of operating in water temperatures between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This covers almost any water condition unless you plan to operate in polar-regions or some type of hot spring.

A 6400 milliamp hour lithium polymer battery provides primary power while three thrusters, two horizontal and one vertical, are responsible for providing thrust and steering. Battery life depends largely on usage but ranges from four hours in still water with light use, to just half an hour in high-speed racing mode. The PowerRay clocks a maximum cruising speed around 3 knots, or roughly 3.5 miles per hour.

The base PowerRay Explorer comes with a 50 to 70 long meter cable, 32GB storage drive, a 4K camera and a controller, but no sonar or bait dropper. Equipped on all levels with the Ultra HD camera, the PowerRay can snap full 12 megapixel photos or record video at 3840 x 2160 resolution. This 4K resolution exceeds the capabilities of most existing TVs and media, which remain at “Full HD,” or 1920 x 1080 pixels. 4K adoption expands constantly, and many new TVs, as well as some video content now support the higher quality. Choosing a camera with 4K support today ensures future-proof video that will still seem spectacular for years to come. In addition, PowerVIsion has included a unique live streaming feature for the PowerRay. If you have an Android device or iOS device you can connect directly to the PowerRay to live stream 1080P video at 30 frames per second. This gives you a spectacular real-time view beneath the waves and allows you to capture just the right shot.

With a diving time of four hours and a diving depth of 30 meters, the PowerRay Explorer will retail for $1,488. Navigation occurs by docking your smartphone into a device that looks like a video game controller. The two thumb-sticks allow full range of motion and speed control. During VR usage, PowerVision maintains the immersive experience with gesture-based controls. The $1,799 PowerRay Angler is the same as the Explorer, but with the extra fishing gear. Finally, the top-of-the-line PowerRay Wizard builds on the Angler's offering with a pair of VR ONE glasses by ZEISS and a suitcase for the drone but will set you back a whopping $1,888. That is not an astronomical price point, so you'd better really love, and be really terrible at fishing to warrant throwing down that amount of cash for an unmanned fish finder.

PowerRay underwater drone is perfect for exploring the underwater world, and it is changing the experience for all future. This portable, diving robot opens up the magical scenery beneath the surface for photographers and cinematographers, explorers, sports enthusiasts and fishers.