reefRover is a submersible drone that autonomously scans marine environments, especially coral reefs.
The project is designed to empower researchers and non-expert explorers to collaboratively gather high quality image data about coral reefs and other underwater environments. The rover is capable of both manual and autonomous operation. During an autonomous scanning mission, the drone is easily deployed from a dive boat; once in the water, it begins to navigate a grid pattern within a geo-fenced perimeter at a fixed distance above the seabed, capturing high-resolution images of consistent scales. The images are merged to create comprehensive local maps of coral reefs. A single reefRover can cover up to 1,400 square meters per outing, compared to only 100 square meters using manual methods.