As drone makers fill the sky, one looks to the deep seas

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The FiFish Atlantis hopes to the first consumer drone of the seas.
The FiFish Atlantis hopes to the first consumer drone of the seas.
Photo: Taihuoniao Shenzhen D3IN Future Labs

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverageDrones may be big news at CES, but only one can make a splash.

Chinese hardware company Taihuoniao Shenzhen has developed what it says is the first consumer drone for exploring all those big bodies of water that cover most of the Earth.

In the world of deep-sea exploration, these submersibles are called ROVs, short for Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle. Taihuonio’s subsidiary D3IN Future Labs say its FiFish Atlantis can withstand water pressure down to 100 meters and go two hours on a battery charge.

The FiFish is not quite ready to swim. CES 2016 is where it dips a first toe. The company will next swim in the uncertain waters of crowd-funding with a campaign sometime this summer.

But Taihuoniao is hoping to create a new market much the way drones and action cameras did when the first models that became affordable exploded into an industry worth billions of dollars.

“The underwater world is mysterious compared with the land and even the sky,” said Taihuonia founder Lei Haibo said in a written statement. “Taihuonia will develop more ROV products following the launch of FiFish Atlantis. It’s time for ordinary people to rediscover the sea.”

Taihuoniao says current ROVs used in science and commercial ventures cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company, however, has not said how much FiFish Atlantis is likely to cost.

The FiFish is powered by three propellers, one on each side and one in back, and will be equipped for high-definition video that can be viewed in real time. It will feature sensors for navigation, sonar and depth detection, the company said. Taihuonia is also developing products for industrial use, including robotic arms and ocean environmental detection systems, the written statement said.