Comparative: Underwater Drone or Remote Operated Vehicle ROV

by spotmydive

Every year, new technological advances leave us speechless. 2019 is no exception to the rule with the recent democratization of two products : the remote-controlled vehicles ROV and autonomous underwater drone. These two innovations will allow everyone to discover secrets of the seabed. The ROVs, real underwater explorers robots are connected to an operator via a wire. It offers a long battery life, a live video underwater and, of course, a complete underwater immersion, without getting wet. The submarine drone, meanwhile, is a true diving companion. Autonomous, he will follow you and execute everything you order him via your bracelet under water. To choose between the two models, it will probably be necessary to focus more on the use you want to make and the amount you want to invest.

ROV and underwater drones both offer very convincing solutions, each in their own fields. You hesitate? We have compared both products for you and are going to deliver our verdict below.

Before comparing in more detail these two models, remember the essence of their data sheet. It must be understood that these types of submarine robots were designed, first of all, for industrial purposes in order to inspect the structures of offshore platforms, to control the good condition of submarine pipelines or inspect new drilling areas. These ROVs were also used for scientific purposes for sampling at great depths, archaeological missions or in ocean exploration.

What is a ROV ?

These underwater robots of a new kind, are today accessible to the greatest number. These devices allow you to explore rivers, lakes, the sea, the ocean without getting wet. They are controlled by a person on the surface using a remote or a joystick like video game. A 25 to 100 meters long wire connects the ROV to the pilot. This cable allows the sending of electrical signals between the operator and the submarine robot.

Fifish V6, best model in 2019?

As mentioned earlier, there are many ROV models on the market, so it’s very difficult to make the right choice. To be honest, the one that impressed us most this year is the Fifish V6. With 6 thrusters, a 4K camera, a 166-degree view of the field, complete freedom of movement, a posture lock, 4 hours of autonomy, a powerful 4000 lumens lighting, an immersive VR mode and an attractive price, the drone Marine FIFISH V6 is clearly one of the 2019 key model.

What is an underwater drone ?

The great difference between ROVs and underwater drones is the controler. Underwater drones are able to move freely underwater, autonomously. No wire connects the operator and his underwater vehicle. The best example of this new type of product is the underwater drone iBubble. The iBubble is quite special as it is the only underwater drone on the market but it can also be used as an ROV. Thanks to a patented underwater localization technology, iBubble follows you and films entire diving sessions without you having to do anything. While you enjoy your underwater experience, this smart wireless drone with its camera and lights captures every moment for you.

» READ ALSO – Ibubble, the best underwater drone?


The two products do not necessarily address the same people: You have understood on one side, you have a device connected to a wire and controllable from the surface and on the other, a true companion autonomous dive.

ROV is for you if :

  • + you do not like to get wet
  • + You want to see in real time what your camera is filming
  • + You want to observe where no one can

Underwater drones are for you if :

  • + Looking for a diving companion who follows you
  • + You like to be filmed under water
  • + You like the versatility of the drone because it can turn into a ROV or be used manually underwater

Underwater videos

The majority of ROVs and underwater drones are equipped by default with a 4k full HD video camera. Other models allow you to directly insert your action camera inside.


These jewel of technology are also, most often, equipped with LED lights to help rebalance the loss of brightness under water. Almost all recent ROV and UAV models feature lights ranging from 100 to 5000 lumens.

@Fifish V6

Other equipement

There are other additional equipment on some of these underwater robots such as articulated arms, sonars or water samplers.


It varies from that of a small bag to that of a big car.


Larger remote-controlled vehicles can be very heavy and need a crane to be launched. We are talking about ROV for scientific or industrial use. On the market, you will find R0V with a weight ranging from 3 to 9 kg.


ROVs available on the market rarely exceed 100 meters deep. In contrast, NOAA’s new ROV, the Deep Discoverer, or “D2” is capable of reaching 6,000 meters in depth. The submarine drone iBubble can, for its part, follow divers “only” up to 60 meters.


The ROV remotely controlled vehicle eliminates human presence in water at medium and great depth. There is therefore no risk related to diving. For its part, iBubble follows the diver during the entire immersion and returns to it when his battery is almost empty.


This is probably the most important criterion when buying a submarine robot. ROVs can be found at prices ranging from 1,240 € to over 10,000 €. These price differences can be explained by the quality of the camera, the length of the wire, the quality of the materials or other additional technical characteristics.

» READ ALSO – 10 underwater drones that you must check out in 2019