Still shipping, and now hiring (Trident Kickstarter Update #31)


#1

Original post: July 27, 2018

Hello everyone,

We’ve been hard at work producing Tridents over the last couple of months, and have now shipped hundreds of vehicles to customers around the world. Since our last update, we experienced some additional delays in production due to a temporary inventory shortage, but we’re continuing to move through our backlog at a steady pace and still expect to complete fulfillment over the next few months. We’re doing our best to fulfill orders as quickly as we can, and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding.

For those of you who have already received your Trident, we’d like to thank you for your continued feedback on your experience with the vehicle and its interface. We’ve already been able to make some improvements based on your messages, and we will continue to incorporate your feedback into future refinements.

We’ve also recently seen some amazing new expeditions with Trident on Open Explorer. If you haven’t been following the development of Open Explorer since we partnered with National Geographic, here are a few of our favorite expeditions that we recommend you check out!

Discovering Mossel Bays Secret: Oceans Research and OpenROV

The Search for the Nautilus Egg

Borneo Coral Reefs and Fish Bombing

This update will mainly describe what we’re working on to keep production running smoothly and advance product support. We’ve also realized that some of the current issues we’re facing are things you - our community - may be able to help with. Specifically, if you know someone who seems like the perfect fit for one the new roles we’re looking to fill, please let us know. More on that below.

Software Support

Software is an extraordinarily important part of our product, and developing it for Trident the right way has been a tremendous undertaking. As anyone who has worked on complex embedded systems can attest to, creating a software architecture that is not only functional, but also optimized for efficiency and robust against edge-case failures - all with limited computational resources - can be extremely challenging. During the earlier phases of Trident development, our software team put great effort into designing a system from the ground up that would be dependable for field work and expandable enough to facilitate our future technical ambitions. Now that we are shipping Tridents, our focus has shifted to increasing robustness and building out the features people want most based on feedback from the field. Our software team is small, so prioritizing which things to work on has been a delicate task. People who got Tridents early have noticed that we’ve been slowly rolling out improvements through software updates as we can get to them. We’ve been careful to test each update we deploy thoroughly, rather than rushing out new features, which could introduce new bugs. Now we’re ready to move faster, and one of our main focuses right now is expanding our software team.

We are opening up four new software positions at OpenROV:

  • Sr. Embedded Linux Developer
  • Mobile lead
  • Android developer
  • Test Engineer

We would like to bring on people with mid to senior level experience, extraordinary character, and (if you’re reading this message you probably already qualify) a deep passion for creating technology that enables exploration. If this sounds like you, please check out our more detailed job descriptions here. We’d love to hear from you!

Even with our limited software development resources, we’ve been able to make some great progress on our OpenROV Cockpit App. We’re still perfecting the user interface, but here is an example of what it looks like. You can currently find OpenROV Cockpit in the Google Play store. Please let us know what you think!

Still shipping, and now hiring (Trident Kickstarter Update #31)

Annotated view of Trident Cockpit pilot screen

Supply Chain

Keeping our production line running requires us to keep a steady quantity of necessary parts on hand. If a single item is missing when it is needed, it can bring the entire production line to a halt. The lead time for some of our parts can be as high as several months, so coordinating purchasing with assembly is critical. Many of the sub-assemblies we use in Trident are composed of parts that have to be ordered from one vendor, sent to a different vendor for secondary processing, and then shipped to our manufacturer for final assembly. Our engineers who are managing supply chain often also need to arrange shipping and manufacturing windows far in advance according to the schedule of each respective factory. Needless to say, it’s very easy for cascading delays to occur when even a small hold-up happens, and a lot of the work we’ve been doing lately has related to perfecting a process that makes our supply chain robust against these types of inevitable troubles.

To help keep our supply chain running smoothly and help us continue to scale production beyond Kickstarter fulfillment, we’re looking to hire a Supply Chain Manager. This person should be very detail oriented and have extraordinary organizational skills as well as previous supply chain management experience. You can check out our job description for this position in the link provided above.

Resource Allocation

As more and more people receive their Tridents, we’ve continued to get requests for additional features that will help people with the jobs they’re doing. Some of these features relate to accessories and other hardware that can be used with the vehicle, and other requests have to do with software capabilities that people would like us to add to the system. One of our dreams for Trident has been to enable new capabilities for audiences that have never had access to underwater drones before. Given our limited time, financial, and human resources, it has not been possible for us to immediately pursue all of the capabilities we’ve gotten requests for, but we’d like to address the needs of as many people as possible and get a sense for what developments to prioritize. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, we’ve created this quick survey to ask our community about add-ons and features they’d like to see most.

We’re proud that our production line is up and running, and we’re even more proud that the people we’ve shipped Tridents to are happy with the product. As time goes on, we’ll continue to improve it and introduce features that make it progressively more capable. We want to create more than just a community of owners — with the thousands of Tridents we plan to ship by the end of the year, we hope that together we’ll have created a new movement in underwater exploration. As always, thank you for your support.

… And in case you’ve been following Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, you may have caught a glimpse of Trident being used to research bull sharks. Here’s an image that was posted on Twitter by @SamuelCReynolds. Thanks again for being a part of this journey!

Trident investigating bull sharks on Shark Week


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://blog.openrov.com/still-shipping-and-now-hiring-trident-kickstarter-update-31/

#2

After ordering, and payment I have had to ask every time for updates.
Which according to earlier info and the FAQ should be coming every time there are changes
So right now Im just giving openrov a loan of $1799,-. And actually I expect some interest on it when we enters 2019!


#3

Hey @lmn,

Keeping people informed about where we’re at is important to us. We post updates whenever we have new information, and I’m sorry if you’ve felt out of the loop. If you’d like information about your specific order, or if there’s anything else we can do for you, please email support@openrov.com and we’ll take care of you. We certainly want to make sure you’re happy with your order.

Eric


#4

I’m worried about you not receiving updates.

If you are a Kickstarter backer these can be found here. You should also be receiving these updates via email if you have that enabled on your Kickstarter account by going here and enabling notifications on your profile: https://www.kickstarter.com/settings/notifications?ref=user_menu.

If you have pre-ordered you should be receiving an email from us on the email that was used to place the order. These emails have the blog post in line. If you are not receiving these emails you should email us right away so we can fix that: support@openrov.com.

Furthermore, if you’d like, as Eric said, a more detailed reply about what your Trident is up to do email us. We will make sure that we get you an answer.


#5

Hey Zack. Hows all going?

All good for me at the moment. ROV hasn’t been online for a while as I have been on holidays and am dealing with other teaching stuff at work for the last while.

Did have a good time in Coral Bay with it though… now know that even our students couldn’t break it. Will try and send you some short vids next week?

Have also been through things for controls and tablets and my Avegant Glyph with one of our researchers here who has one on order. J

All good and if I have probs will be in contact.

Seeyahs!


#6

Hi Zack,

Sorry for my silence. I received you email saying that you didn't forget about me, and with recent update from the tech group on my issue. I actually started replying yesterday at work but I couldn't finish.

I want to re read more quietly the message over the weekend and reply. Anyway, if there is a description of the optimal calibration procedure I can compare it with what I usually do and see if that is the problem.

I really do appreciate your interest and support.

Thanks for checking in.

Best,

Filippo


#7

Ah yeah! Great to hear about it. Please do share some videos when you have them!


#8

No worries, Filippo! I sent you an email about the compass. I think we’ve come up with 2 ideas to help out in the short term while we are brainstorming some longer term solutions as well.

Z


#9

The emails I receive are generic blog updates.
no info about my shipment.
I have received answers when I have asked, but again, according to yourself we should receive update about shipments when there are changes.
And, as stated quite early, my credit card should be used when close to shipping.
April 16th. it was withdrawn $1929,-.
Last reply when I asked was earliest sending in october.

My intention with the Trident was to recover lost fishing gear.
I get a lot of time to do that since it looks like best hope here is to receive the trident after the lobster seasons closes in november.

I expected delays for the Kickstarter campaign, as most Kickstarter projects tends to be delayed.
Which was the reason I stayed with my old 2.4, which have just been problems and issues with…
Then only thing keeping me from not canceling the order right now is that the other option (Blueye) are just as delayed.


#10

Hi Imn,

I’m curious about your use case. Are you going after lobster pots? Are you just using the ROV to search for the pots or do you know where they are? Do you intend to attach something to the ROV to then attach to the pots? What is you recovery plan?

Ghost pots/lost gear is certainly a challenge in recovery, and it’s great that you are doing it. However, I’m not convinced that a ROV will give you much more in doing it. We typically run sonar scans, fish finders with ClearVu and the like from Garmin and Hummingbird are fantastic for this, to identify the targets first. We may dive a ROV for a positive i.d. but, depending on depth, a dredge or hook is used to snag the gear for recovery.

Now, if you are talking about using the Trident to attach a line to the pots, that’s a different challenge all together and I would love to chat on a different thread about the approach and experiments you plan to do to work out the design.

Best of luck!

Jim


#11

I’m also waiting on a Trident. Ordered initially on September 5, 2016. Paid in full on January 19th, 2018. But after payment was offered the option of a motor upgrade. This further delayed my order. The last word I heard was my Trident should ship between mid-to-late September 2018. Hope so!


#12

I installed a gripper on my 2.8 ROV. I offered suggestions in the past for how to retrieve a cage trap. I do not dive for that purpose and live in the Pacific NW.

Gil


#13

I would. love to discuss this as well, I’m also trying the same thing. (And also live in the PNW!)


#14

should have given a little more info. I am planning on dropping the ROV to hook the pot and haul it from the surface.


#15

I was informed of a further delay in shipment of tridents with the new motors - now not anticipated until late October


#16

I was informed of a further delay in shipment of tridents with the new motors - now not anticipated until late October.

Jeeze, not another delay! This week makes 2 years since I placed my startup order.* *

It sure would be nice if OpenROV posted updates concerning delivery dates.

Butch


#17

Hi Eric,
I want to order a Trident but I’m a little concerned about the delays that are talked about on this Forum. I assume the Trident is in full production. Am I correct ? Thanks for your help.

Tom Moynihan


#18

Tom,

According to OpenROV website they’ve already shipped Trident’s to many parts of the world.

I’ve had my Trident on order for about 2 years now (ordered during their Startup program period), and full payment was made back in January 2018. I was suppose to take delivery of my Trident in June of this year but when it came time to take delivery I was told there was an issue with the original motors. On July 11, 2018 OpenROV released a Trident Motor Update statement stating under certain harsh water conditions the original motors could be negatively affected, and new motors were being designed.

I was offered an option to take delivery of my Trident with the original motors, or wait until June 2018 for the newer motors. I opted to wait for the new motors.

The last official word I received from OpenROV was the Trident’s with the new motors would be shipping in mid-September 2018, although according to the post above by forum member spaceaholic, now it’s late October.

I haven’t gotten an official confirmation of the late October shipping date, but based on past delays, this additional delay wouldn’t surprise me.

While I applaud OpenROV for wanting to release a bug-free product, I wish they would send out monthly updates to their customers. This waiting, then having to call or email OpenROV to get the latest information is really getting old.

Butch


#20

Hei.

It is pretty much useless with sonars to find fishing gear on the Norwegian west coast. Tried several times. only time we have had success is when they have fallen of cliffs and we see the floater and line. Way too much rocks and seaweed.
If it is my own fishing gear, i normally got an idea where I had it last… and then the Trident will be a great tool!
In Norway the fishery inspection have a page where all fishers can register lost equipment on a map on their app “Fritidsfiske”. In the end of the season I can then use this map and take a trip around to search. https://www.fiskeridir.no/Fritidsfiske/App-om-fritidsfiske

the Trident aren’t able to carry payload such as the weight of a pot or net, so I will use a line and a hook connected to the Trident that can release without much force. I discussed this with Kåre Tvedt when I tested his Trident earlier, he have made a very simple hook on a pvc pipe and a line to the surface. As well have I made a gripper with a springrelease in plexiplast which i have been able to lift 25 kg with.
IF I ever recieve a Trident, I will not concentrate on a remotely operated gripper for retrieval of heavy equipment, since the ROV cant move larger objects.

In case the object is allocated and I struggle attach a line, I will use the same technique as when I search for pots and nets now: a heavy chain, 15-20kg, small grappling hook after the chain, 20m rope, weights and a second grappling hook, 200m sinking rope and then start making a box pattern around most interesting area.