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Great white shark attacks Trident submarine drone at Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico [video]

A great white shark attacked a Trident beta unit submarine drone at Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico late last year. Dominik Fretz took a Trident beta unit out to for testing in the shark-infested waters. The underwater drone captured the scary-looking footage and lived to tell the tale.

Trident drone passed the reliability test with flying colors…

Isla de Guadalupe in a small volcanic island located in the Pacific 150 miles off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The island is known for being a top destination for great white shark encounters, outperforming both South Africa and Australia.

The Trident underwater drone was first introduced on Kickstarter back in 2015. The funding campaign did really well and brought in $815,601, massively overshooting the original goal of $50,000.

Trident underwater drone

A video on Youtube shows the top predator swimming towards the drone a few times before going in for the kill. In the description of the video it says:

OpenROV community member Dominik Fretz took a Trident beta unit out to Isla Guadalupe, Mexico for testing. It’s safe to say this drone passed the reliability test with flying colors…”

Every year the great white sharks come to the waters of Isla de Guadalupe to feed on tuna and elephant seals. Under Mexican law, the animals are protected and officials of the National Park Services join ecotourism boat as observers. With the help of acoustic tags, satellite transmitters, photo ID (!) and underwater drones, scientists are studying the behavior and populations of the sharks.

Sharks have very sophisticated senses and are able to detect vibrations, movements and electric fields in the water and were attracted to the Trident underwater drone.

The Trident underwater drone is a new tool that is being used to study wildlife, i.e. great white sharks in the area. It is believed that drones are less intrusive when it comes to observing wildlife, although encounters do occur from time to time. Using drones instead of divers swimming unprotected in the ocean is safer for the researchers as this video makes very clear. In National Geographic’s Open Explorer platform, Dominik is journaling all his explorations.

No sharks or Trident drones were harmed in the making of this video.

Underwater drones seem to become more popular. Earlier this year at CES 2018, we saw another drone aimed at water activities, the PowerDolphin.

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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo