Chinese companies have taken a leading role in the years-long transition of drones from niche cutting-edge technology to affordable consumer electronics. However, the once emerging sector is already crowded with DJI dominating. Seeing this, one company is moving from air to sea to capture market share.

Developed by Shenzhen-based startup Chasing Innovations, GLADIUS is a smart ROV (remotely operated vehicle) underwater drone built for filming, observing, and exploring. As a portable device, GLADIUS measures 430mm * 260mm * 95 mm and weighs only 3kg. The gadget comes with two built-in batteries, which can last up to 3 to 4 hours on one charge.

One cool thing about GLADIUS is its ability for precision maneuvers. The Quattro-thrusters design makes it able to nimbly move in all directions at a speed of up to 4 knots or 2m/s.

In addition to speed and portability, GLADIUS also excels in terms of the areas it can cover. The underwater drone uses a 100 m buoyant tether to communicate to a towable buoy on the surface of the water. The pilot connects to the buoy using wireless communication technologies, CMO Yang Yang told TechNode.

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The vehicle can go 100 m below the water surface via the tether and 500 m horizontally through long range Wifi communication.

“Using a wireless towable buoy greatly increases the practical range of the vehicle since a physical connection between the vehicle and the pilot doesn’t need to be maintained,” he noted.

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The underwater drone can stream live video with built-in Full HD camera and LED lighting, which enables users to take high-quality 16-megapixel photos and 4K videos. Users can control the drone with a remote control that’s compatible with Android or iOS devices.

Chasing Innovations was started by former engineers from Huawei and now it’s developed to a team of over nearly 20 employees. The company is going to kick off a crowdfunding campaign for its products on Indiegogo in February. The standard version will be priced at 1,399 USD while the premium version will go for 1,699 USD. The super earlybird price on Indiegogo could be as low as 599USD.

Image credits: Chasing Innovations

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.