Fathom is a company that’s dedicated to bringing underwater exploration and education to the the next level. Whether it’s experience, cost, or lack of technical knowledge, something has always stood in the way of the average individual learning more about what’s happening under the surface of our bodies of water. That’s why the co-founders at Fathom set out to design a drone system that would allow anyone to become a citizen explorer, all for $600. Two years later, the Fathom One is finally here.

The idea for the Fathom One came about when co-founder Daniel Vessells heard stories about how his local lake contained horse-drawn carriages that fell through the ice in the winter when the town was a logging hotspot in the 1800’s, but had no way of finding out if the stories were true. He wasn’t scuba certified, and didn’t have the money for current drone systems. That’s when he reached out to John Boss and Matthew Gira to help him bring his idea to life.

The Fathom One is the world’s first easy to use, truly affordable underwater drone. Unlike systems that claim to be “inexpensive” with price tags ranging anywhere from $1,600 to $20,000, the Fathom One sets a new standard in affordability at $600. The Fathom One features a 1080p camera onboard with built in high-intensity LEDs, as well as a patent-pending modular thruster attachment system. This system allows users to take off all three of the Fathom One’s thrusters in order to easily customize, upgrade, or pack the drone. It also features an integrated rail system on the bottom of the device that makes it incredibly simple to attach action cameras, additional lights, or other sensors to the drone. And to extend the working range of the Fathom One, the Fathom team is designing a WiFi buoy that can transmit up to 100 feet away to any smart device. To use the system, simply connect the drone to the buoy, connect to the buoy wirelessly on any Android or iOS device using the Fathom app, and toss it in the water. The result of this streamlined system is the ability to explore underwater without ever having to get wet.

The Fathom One’s price is a side-effect of streamlined design and new methods for manufacturing underwater robotics systems. When these two factors are combined, it allowed the Fathom team to produce a low cost, yet robust system that the average consumer could afford.

The Fathom One features a patent-pending modular thruster attachment system that allows the user to remove all three thrusters from the drone’s body to make it a breeze to customize, upgrade, or pack the drone. The thruster configuration also makes the Fathom One incredibly easy to pilot – it’s intuitive because it swims more like a fish than a robot. There’s also an integrated rail system on the bottom of the Fathom One that allows the user to easily add accessories like action cameras, additional lights, or other sensors to customize the drone to fit their specific needs.

Whether it be in a backyard pool or under the ice in Antarctica, the Fathom One is designed to capture experiences from an entirely new perspective that – up to this point – hasn’t been possible. You no longer have to abide by human limitations when exploring underwater – no air tanks, no decompression stops, you don’t even have to get wet to explore these alien worlds that exist all around us.

Unlike aerial drones, the Fathom One can take advantage of the water column – instead of constantly running four to six motors to stay suspended, the Fathom One simply floats in place, using only slight motor adjustment to maintain its heading and depth.