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Youcan Robot makes waves with new underwater drone

Youcan Robot has unveiled a new drone model called BW Space Pro with innovations like a 6x zoom lens, a feature that is so far nonexistent in products from competitors.

Company founder and chief executive officer Snow Lee says the new drone creates a better user experience, with live-streaming increasingly identified as one of its many - and possibly most lucrative - applications.

Shanghai Youcan Robot, is focused on the design and production of auto-piloting underwater drones and applications, has unveiled its latest generation of unmanned smart drone named BW Space Pro at a global launch ceremony in Shanghai today, in a move that will likely consolidate the start-up's status as a world leader in consumer-grade underwater drones.

The drone, an updated version of the BW Space model that debuted in 2018, comes with revolutionary new features such as a 6x zoom lens and image stabilization technology that the firm says will considerably boost the device's performance in underwater filming activities.

"We are very glad to introduce this new Youcan underwater drone to our customers," said Snow Lee, founder and chief executive officer of Youcan Robot. "We are confident the technical improvements we adopted in the BW Space model have led to a product capable of delivering a much better user experience."

Improvements include a 6x zoom lens, the first time it is installed on a civilian underwater drone worldwide.

Combined with a 1/1.8 inch CMOS sensor and F1.4 aperture that increase the amount of light absorption of a 1/2.3 inch lens by approximately 30 percent, the BW Space Pro is designed to capture moving objects even 50 meters away and send back images of 12 million pixels and high-resolution 4K video footage.

Working constantly against turbulent currents that interfere with stable transmission of image signals, the Youcan BW Space Pro, cocooned in a protective hull made from seawater-proof high-strength plastic, is able to hold up even under tremendous water pressure. The deployment of Youcan's unique image stabilization strategy ensures that footage remains smooth throughout the filming process.

Another upgrade probably to the delight of consumers is a shift of the old model's three-rotary-blade power system to one composed of four rotary blades, a change that allows for more flexible vertical movement in the water.

Besides, it also enables the drone to tilt up to 45 degrees upward and downward, making it possible for it to take shots from multiple angles while navigating complex undersea topographies like the coral reefs. The device also automatically dials up and down the beams of light projected from its self-adjusting dual LED spotlights depending on the specific working environment, generating better visibility conditions to aid photographers.

With a size of 43*33*13cm, or 16*12*5inch, the BW Space Pro is more compact than its predecessor BW Space (52*39*14cm, or 20*15*5inch). It can move at a maximum speed of 1.5 meters per second. The built-in 9600mAh battery pack puts out enough power to keep the drone going in the water for about five hours - a surge of 45 percent in battery performance compared with similar drones in the market.

As Lee, CEO of Youcan, has described at the launch ceremony, the company, which was established in 2016, sets sights on providing a wide variety of applications in, among others, underwater filming, live broadcast of sports like swimming, prospecting for natural resources, fish farming, rescue of shipwreck victims and archeological exploration.

But he said the primary user scenario remains in mass entertainment, an area where a boom of live-streaming services over the past few years has enticed civilian drone makers like DJI to tap the mania for creating and sharing aerial imagery online, a market worth potentially billions.

Youcan, likewise, has eyed a move into the fledgling underwater live-streaming space. "Users can stand along a shoreline and use a remote to control the drone's movement in the water," said Lee. "Then they can send image and video back in real time to be viewed on an iPhone or tablet screen without getting wet."

Through Youcan's self-developed app, available for download from App Store and Google Play, users can generate buzz by sharing images and footage they shoot via social media platforms like YouTube, OBS or Panda from China - all with the press of a few buttons on the smartphone.

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