Blue Robotics, however, has managed to come up with something a little more affordable.

With several years of experience in ROV development, the California-based company has just launched pre-orders for the $3,000 BlueROV2, a solidly built machine it describes as an underwater drone.

Aimed at universities, research organizations, small businesses, hobbyists, and first responders – in other words, just about anyone – the BlueROV2 uses a motorized control system usually only seen on much more expensive machines.

Smooth and stable but at the same time highly maneuverable, the BlueROV2 can be fitted with high-end cameras inside a dome enclosure and sent to depths of up to 100 meters.

Company founder Rustom Jehangir said it s always been his goal to make marine robotics accessible to more people and businesses than ever before, adding, We re able to make the BlueROV2 at a fraction of the cost of similar vehicles thanks to many of the same technologies that have made aerial drones affordable.

We know there are a lot of people out there with an urge to explore the ocean, and the BlueROV2 is a tool to help them do so, Jehangir said.

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