Submersible Raspberry Pi drone

We found something rather fabulous on YouTube. Niels Affourtit has taken his home-made underwater drone (or ROV – Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) from bathtub tests to real-world deployment in a great big lake somewhere in the Netherlands.


It’s a sophisticated build – the video below says that it uses an HD camera, the Raspberry Pi, some 3d-printed parts (propellers and a tilt system for the camera), a BOSCH BMP180 Atmospheric Pressure Sensor, and a ADXL345 Digital 3-Axis Gravity Acceleration Sensor. The whole assembly took around 250 hours and cost Niels €350. It’s been tested down to 12m, but is designed to go deeper. The unit updates a webpage with live data: tilt, roll, heading, temperature and internal pressure (leaks) sensor data are all displayed in real time.

The drone is currently controlled via an Ethernet cable that keeps it tethered, so at the moment it has a limited range. Fish-spotters can watch a feed from the drone’s camera here:

There are more examples of the drone being tested on Niels’ YouTube channel. Last May, he wrote this on YouTube:

On a documentary of National Geographic about the salvage of the Costa Concordia I saw a VideoRay for the first time. I was impressed and started searching online to see if I could build one myself. I ended up at and decided to build mine from scratch using their knowledge. I started Christmas 2014 and here you see the maiden trip in a sweet water lake in the Netherlands last week.

It’s a lovely build – we hope Niels documents the process somewhere. Thanks very much, Niels!



G S avatar


AndrewS avatar

So in yesterday’s blog-post we were in outer-space, and in today’s blog post we’re under-water :)

Paul avatar

Last week we were in space and now we are under water!

AndrewS avatar

Haha, great minds… ;-)

Yvan T. avatar

Well this proves that the wonderful pi can work with no pressure to under heavy pressure and take it all beautifully.

Way to go PI :)

Ned avatar

On the “Homebuilt ROVS” forum ( there is a dedicated section for Raspi control systems:
This is not the most active of forums, but there are some interesting ROVs there.

mahem avatar

great work

Michalis avatar

Here is the conversion of electromechanical tethered ROV to a RPi controlled ROV, all in a Greek Junior High School:

Flo avatar

Nice! That one would be great for next holidays.

Jake Dalton avatar

Thats really cool
The Raspberry PI really is amazing

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