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Preliminary Research and Documentation


  • Drone - A drone that can transport the camera and sensory equipment.  
  • Body - A shaft that is attached to the bottom of the drone. This is made of concentric and telescopic pipes.
  • Cameras - Multiple underwater cameras that can take high resolution pictures and transfer them to a computer.
  • Lighting system - A set of high powered lighting system to illuminate the sea bed for better picture quality.
  • SONAR - An active SONAR unit to map the underwater structures and surfaces.
  • Proximity sensor - Proximity sensor to safeguard the AquaScan from crashing into rocks and boulders in the water.
  • Salinity sensor - Salinity sensor and circuit to measure salinity of the water.
  • pH sensor - A pH sensor to measure the acidity or alkalinity of the water.
  • Thermometer - A thermometer to measure the temperature of water.
  • Transmitter - A transmitter that can receive signals from the sensory unit and relay the information to the software.
  • Aquascan Software - Software to convert the high resolution images to accurate 3D models of the sea floor. The software must also record salinity, pH value and run real-time algorithms and produce reports on the scan.


 light weight and highly efficient drone that has the following features:

Feature Value or description
Flight time

120 minutes without payload. 90 minutes with Aquascan payload (2 kilos)

Range 20 kilometers (12.5 miles)
Maximum forward speed 18 meters per second
Operating temperature

-5°C to 45°C

Gusts  Up to 55 km/hour
Maximum wind speed Up to 45 km/hour



The body of Aquascan is a retractable shaft that can extend from 5 meters to 30 meters. The remote controlled shaft is attached at the bottom of the drone (see introduction pic). The body of Aquascan must be made of non-corrosive material. The shaft must be concentric telescopic pipes that can use signals from the proximity sensors and extend or retract based on the proximity of the ocean floor. The length of the shaft can also be controlled remotely by a computer.

The outer diameter of the shaft is 1.5 inches. It is made of aluminum or a plastic that can withstand water corrosion. The whole unit must be waterproof. The inner most shaft is made of plastic or polycarbonate. It must be 1 inch in diameter and hollow to allow cables and wires from the sensors unit to the transmitter on the drone.



Figure 1 - Cross section view of the retractable body


Length of each pipe 5.3 meters
Docking length 0.3 meters (this is the overlap each pipe is at maximum retraction length.
Diameter 1", 1,1", 1,2", 1.3", 1.4" and 1.5"

1 bidirectional motor is installed in the sensor circuitry enclosure to control the length of the entire shaft. 4 pulleys are installed at the top of the outermost shaft. These pulleys are used to expand or retract the entire shaft. The motor is controlled remotely from a computer as well as signals from the proximity sensors at the base of Aquascan. The motor has metallic strings hooked to the inner most pipe and then to a roller mounted on the motor. 

The inner most pipe in the shaft has as outward rim at the bottom edge. This allows for the innermost pipe to lift or drop the other pipes based on the depth specified from the computer and signals from the proximity sensors. The rim is also attached to the camera and lighting enclosure.

Bottom Top

Figure 2 - Illustration of AquaScan body (not to scale).


3 high resolution cameras are placed in the camera and lighting enclosure at an angle of 120° to each other to get a complete 360° view of the ocean floor. The cables for these cameras should go through the shaft and connect to the transmitter on the drone.


Figure 3 - Camera enclosure

Top View


Figure 4 - Camera placement for 360° coverage.

Following are the specifications for the cameras. 

Feature Value or description
Resolution (still images) Between 17 Megapixels to 21 Megapixels 
Image size Between 5472 x 3648 pixels and 4736 x 3552 pixels
Lens size f1.7 to f2.8
Still frame rate 11 FPS to 30 FPS
Coverage Angle Viewing angle of 120°
Battery life 120 minutes
Output formats JPG, PNG, 
Date and Time stamp

The cameras must have the option to display date and time. All 3 cameras must be set to the exact date and time in the following formats:

Time - HH:MM:SS



Optional - The date and time can be set to or  Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)  standard time and converted to local time in the software application or vice versa.