Small Footprint

With its compact frame, the reefRover seamlessly integrates into both research and recreational dive boat environments.

Stabilized Imaging

Cameras on the reefRover are mounted on gimbals to ensure images captured are consistently parallel to the sea floor.

Consistent Scale

Ultrasonic distance sensing enables the reefRover to swim at a fixed distance above the seabed and obtain high-grade images with known scales.

Auto Scanning

An autopilot adapted for underwater use enables the reefRover to scan autonomously within a pre-planned perimeter.

reefRover: Marine science, crowdsourced.

Be a Reefsearcher.
The reefRover is a submersible drone that autonomously scans marine environments and enables researchers and citizen scientists to collaboratively gather well-structured image data about coral reefs at unprecedented rates. The rover is capable of both manual and autonomous operation. During a scanning mission, the rover is quickly and easily deployed from a dive boat, and once in the water, it begins to navigate a grid pattern within a geo-fenced perimeter at a fixed distance above the seabed, capturing high-resolution images of consistent scales. The images are merged to create comprehensive local maps of coral reefs. A single reefRover can cover up to 1,400 sq. meters per outing, compared to only 100 sq. meters using manual methods. By empowering a new breed non-experts explorers to generate vast collections of research-grade data, reefRover has the potential to transform coral conservation efforts in the Arabian Gulf and around the world.
Change the World.

Water covers nearly three quarters of the Earth's surface. As with other natural resources, we need to be mindful custodians and seek to better understand our vast, life-giving oceans and seas. Underwater ecosystems are home to extraordinary populations of organisms, including coral reefs, yet many inhabitants are not fully understood, discovered or accounted for. The reefRover provides researchers and citizen scientists with the opportunity to collaboratively collect data and reliably map, explore, and study marine habitats. With a standardized tool in the hands of enthusiastic community contributors, the volume of high-quality data collected can increase by orders of magnitude, and the hope is that you will be part of generating the data that brings answers to big questions within reach.


The reefRover is a student-led initiative developed by a small team of engineering students at New York University in Abu Dhabi. The team is five individuals representing six nationalities and three engineering disciplines whose diverse backgrounds, skills, and interests spurred them to develop solutions for challenges faced by marine biology researchers in the United Arab Emirates and around the world.
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Daniel Carelli

Electrical Engineer
Spain / USA
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Hazem Ibrahim

Computer Engineer
Egypt / Canada
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Shien Yang Lee

Mechanical Engineer
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Jovan Jovancevic

Image Processing Engineer
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Ali Abouelatta

Electrical Engineer

Special Thanks To

Matt Karau
John Burt
Dain McParland
Ramesh Jagannathan
James Hosken
Remi Ketchum
Brooke Hopkins
Majed Bou Ghanem
Zoha Alvi

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