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De Litter Bug - Diving Deep for Marine Debris with our Underwater Drone

At Down Deep Drones we are a small social enterprise currently based in Queensland, Australia. 


John Griffiths, robotics engineer Down Deep Drones


Our robotics engineer John Griffiths works tirelessly creating innovative solutions for marine and deep water environmental challenges that incorporate the use and intervention of small underwater drones.  


Amongst Johns significant contributions, his prototypes include:-

Crown of Thorns Starfish Injecting Underwater Drone

Rogue Urchin Culling Underwater Drone

Marine Debris Collecting Underwater Drone with specific tools including a ghost net cutter.


Our major and continuing obstacle is a lack of funding.  We have exhausted our private funds, and have looked to grants in Australia to support our endeavours however with no success. We needed to fund the development of our marine debris collecting underwater drone “De Litter Bug”


It is a scalable, inexpensive remotely operated vehicle (ROV) designed for the collection of 

underwater marine debris. This innovative technology addresses a critical gap

in ocean cleanup, offering a unique and specific solution for underwater debris removal,

including the cutting of ghost nets.


In the concept phase we sought information in the market about other brands of ROVs involved in marine debris collecting. Finding that there was a gap in the market, we researched the

attachments and tools of these ROVs discovering that the tools had limited application

for this purpose. We progressed, developed our ROV and then tested it in a swimming

pool. It has transitioned beyond the concept phase to become a functional prototype,

Serving as a fully integrated model, it effectively demonstrates key functionalities like the heavy lift bag, grappling hook, and ghost net cutting tool. The development process has been focused

on ensuring technical aspects and performance are robust, positioning the prototype for

thorough validation and testing in relevant "industrial" and operational environments.


Having rejected our previous iteration we have now designed a new Blue Robotics based system and are celebrating our first sale to Ocean Crusaders.  





Ocean Crusaders have ordered a De Litter Bug! A huge boost for our belief that there is a demand for the solutions we can provide. The version we are supplying Ocean Crusaders. with includes a sonar, doppler velocity logger, robotic claw, grappling hook and a twin disc rope and wire cutter. 

This is the first ROV that can both cut a ghost net, entangled fishing gear and also lift it ready for collection.

Its batteries are IATA approved for air travel. It is versatile, efficient and can be deployed in minutes.

Possible options include a De Litter Bug that could go down to 1000 metres. Absolutely fabulous news - we will soon have footage to share on our YouTube channel and will post all our tests.


We wish to test the De Litter Bug in the following:-


Rivers and lakes - freshwater locations like Chao Phraya River in Thailand extremely

challenging.

Ocean - open seas, inland, salt water, depth and pressure testing at100m 200m 300m

Norfolk Island

Types of debris -plastic, metal, nets , bottles/cans, motor vehicles!

Volume of debris - challenging marine debris density like the Gulf of Thailand.

ROV performance - thrusters, battery, visibility, navigation.

Tools - cutter, collector, lift-bag, grappling hook for items unto 250kg

Capacity- volume, weight, speed, time taken for task.

Document and video all tests. Test results will quantitatively measure time efficiency, debris collection rates, weight capacity, speed, and depth range.

Make minor corrections or improvements to the ROV in response to initial tests.

Conduct further tests with environmental organisations to be included in their clean up

schedule. Invite feedback on performance of the ROV and tools. Make minor correction or

improvements after feedback.


Please contact us if you would like us to join your clean ups! We will bring our De Litter Bug and help you worldwide.  We are particularly interested in being involved with the Ocean Clean Up and would be available to use our underwater drone in any way that the organisers would like - including river surveys and canal debris removal underwater.  


Feeling happy!!!


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