June 30, 2022 | News & Notices Achieves Data Transfer Across 80 Meters Underwater
Release of MC500 Underwater Optical Wireless Modem

MC500 Underwater Optical Wireless Modem

MC500 Underwater Optical Wireless Modem

Shimadzu announces the release of the MC500 underwater optical wireless modem. This proprietary underwater optical wireless modem is capable of high-speed underwater communication by sending and receiving green and blue laser light. The MC500 is the second in the series, continuing on from the MC100 (released in Japan in February 2020), which was designed for short-range (10 meter) communications. This modem has a maximum communication range of 80 meters. It can be mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) or remotely operated vehicle (ROV, a kind of underwater drone), for communication between robots or between an underwater robot and a ship on the sea. Through this product, Shimadzu is contributing to heightening the efficiency of marine activities including the installation and maintenance of offshore infrastructures including wind power plants and oil & gas markets, inspection of seabed pipelines, and searches for rare earth elements and other mineral resources.

At present, underwater communication is primarily based on wired or acoustic techniques. However, with wired communication, the movement of the underwater drone is limited by the cable, and with acoustic communication, the communication rate cannot exceed several dozen Kbps. Many underwater wireless optical communication systems use LEDs as the light source. However, Shimadzu has developed the MC series of underwater optical wireless modems featuring both high-speed communication (up to 20 Mbps)* and low power consumption by adopting laser-diode, which provides excellent directivity and response rate. Shimadzu aims to achieve a global digital transformation (DX) of marine development by providing a so-called underwater Wi-Fi communication environment to businesses and research organizations in marine fields.

*1 Mbps is 1000 times faster than 1 Kbps.


1. Achieves a Maximum Communication BeamAngle of 40 Degrees and a Communication Distance of 80 Meters

This product provides large-capacity file transfer and real-time video communication over a maximum distance of 80 meters, dramatically enhancingproductivity underwater.

2. Data Rate Up to 20 Mbps

The MC500 can switch communication rate (1 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps) depending on the application and environment, and is capable of stable communication under ambient lighting conditions due to sunlight or illumination.

3. Bidirectional Communication Using a Full Duplex Communication System

The MC series achieves bidirectional communication using a full duplex communication system. The two modems comprising the MC500 enable large-capacity data transmission and reception simultaneously.


Use image of MC500 Underwater Optical Wireless Modem

Use image of MC500 Underwater Optical Wireless Modem 


Shimadzu collaborated in verification tests involving the automatic collection of data from observation systems installed on the seabed using an AUV by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). This was the world’s first successful test of the so-called harvesting data collection method. A prototype MC500 was installed in the AUV used.


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