Trident Questions


I am very excited for the Trident ROV that you are about to release, and I am going to be ordering one this week :slight_smile: I do, however, want to ask a few questions that this community may be able to help me with. My dive buddies and I wish to use the ROV to assist us in exploring areas offshore the South Florida area. We are avid technical divers trained by the Global Underwater Explorers and believe it or not, very little true exploration is currently done in the areas that we frequent. Most divers, technical divers included, dive the same thing time after time and do not engage in real exploration in the ocean. We are bored with the same old dive sites and wish to shift our efforts into actual exploration. We have a boat with 3d sonar that we will use to scout for interesting bottom features, once we identify spots of interest we wish to deploy your ROV to see it before we dive it to see if it’s worth diving. This will allow us to cover way more ground than simply diving it outright. As an example, if we dive a 200 foot dive our bottom time would be limited to about 20 minutes, with upwards of 60 minutes of decompression to follow. Not only is this time consuming, but it also costs close to $200 per diver to do this type of exploration in the 200 foot range. Needless to say, we are excited for the ROV :slight_smile: My questions are as follows:

  1. Do you have a tether that is neutrally buoyant in salt water or if not, how does the ROV with the tether handle in salt water?

  2. What is the best controller to use to control the ROV and what software would you run to do so? I assume a laptop is best to interface it with, but what are your suggestions? I have an iPad as well as a MacBook Pro and we are looking for the most precise control possible of the ROV.

  3. Have you had a chance to test this in a high current area? I see videos where the ROV does great in near static current conditions, but we will be deploying it in areas that sometime have rather swift currents.

Looking forward to your responses and to receiving the ROV of course :slight_smile:


Matt Cain


I have another question! I understand that the ROV has the capability of recording on a laptop. Is there any way that while recording this you can also get GPS coordinates?


How do you plan to get GPS signals unless the GPS is on the surface?

  1. Having a display that performs well in daylight and high brightness conditions is one of the most important factors with the controller. So something with a matte finish and high nits will work well. A game pad is usually used instead of the laptop keyboard, but the Trident will also have touchscreen GUI’s for tablets and smartphones. The software you use to interface with the ROV is google chrome browser.


This is a use case that we are excited to see people use the vehicle for, exploring new places that have never before been seen by humans!

In answer to your questions.

  1. The tether for the vehicle is neutrally buoyant in fresh water, so it will be slightly buoyant in salt water. This will have minimal effect on vehicle performance. If you look at the second half of this video it shows the third person view of the vehicle in the water and you can see how the tether handles. This was filmed in Hawaii in salt water.

  2. The control device is kind of up to the users personal preference. As @Brendan mentioned a screen that works will in daylight is definitely a plus. Tablets normally have brighter screens than laptops, but we use both here at the lab. As we get more of these in the field and run user testing we will be able to give some better recommendations.

  3. We have tested in a few high current situations. Since the vehicle is very hydrodynamic it handles going into the current well. Shooting video where you can see the performance is a little more challenging. The San Francisco area of the Pacific Ocean is where we test, but visibility is not great so shooting third person is hard. As a diver myself my opinion is that it would be able to handle any current that I as a diver would be comfortable getting into.

  4. The video recording is onto whatever the control device is (laptop, tablet, phone, etc.). We are looking at tapping into the GPS information on phones and tablets to embed this GPS information into the video. More on this to come closer to the release date.

Let us know if you have additional questions, and I can’t wait to see what you explore with the vehicle!


Thanks for the reply Brian! One note on the GPS feature that I, and many others I’m sure, would love to see. If you put a GPS on the float itself that would at least get you in the ballpark of where you need to be to find the same location again in the future. Is it perfect, no, but it’s better than nothing, especially if it recorded the video with the gps coordinates of the float always available, along with the depth info of course. I have spoken to other engineers about more accurate ways to determine GPS coordinates of the ROV itself. The best answer I’ve head so far is you would have to develop a tether that is retractable and as it is let out, it keeps a slight tension on the line to keep it almost straight, it would also have to be able to measure how much line is out and somehow figure out the angle, with all that info you should be able to get the coordinates of the ROV on the bottom. Easier said than done, but hey just throwing that out there!


For myself personally, Im going to be able to track my ROV with my sounder. Im going to be trialing Lowrance spot light scan as another way apart from the 3D scan, Side Scan & 3D structure scan. Once you locate your Trident you can place a Waypoint that will give a accurate GPS location. Cant wait to try it all out :slight_smile:


Will there be any external wiring available on Trident for an external servo. lighting or other payload options?


No, no external wiring on the Trident if I have understood everything correctly. It will communicate via wifi to external payloads, so they are actually working on an external module which you later on hopefully will be able to buy and connect the payloads to.

I’m not 100% sure if this is still the case since there is very little information available about things in general. But I guess that they don’t want to promise anything that they might not be able to deliver (or knowing when they can deliver it)

You can read more about the module here:


Thanks, I saw that thread but it indicated Rey had moved on so I didn’t know if his work was on hold or had been picked up by someone else. Hopefully someone from the Trident team will catch up on threads and provide some answers when they get a chance.


Yes Jim_Scholz, this project is surely going to be picked up by others just like I did.

The work done by rey_reza forms an integral part of my external payload modules and I will be building upon his work by increasing the size of the module, increasing the battery capacity and designing for maximum flexibility in deployments. My hard outer shell might look a little different to his but we are otherwise the same.

For my part, I had no idea the little ESP8266 chip existed before starting my journey (yes, I’m a bit behind the times hahaha…we might be 10 hours in front but in most ways I feel so far behind). To bring myself up to speed I attended a workshop at my local state library to learn more about the use of this chip (my home state of Queensland has amazing programs and facilities for tinkerers like me,

I don’t yet know how to integrate the chip with Trident however all will be revealed in good time. I am hoping the wifi signal will pass equally as well through the sides of Trident as it does through the bottom and into my modules via polycarbonate (or similar) side panels.