About Kai Rover

Kai Rover is the creation of UAT Student Matthew Pylant. This project aims to make it easier and cheaper for students to get their hands on underwater ROVs at a cheaper rate then what is currently offered. Kai will be an open-sourced Arduino based ROV that allows the students to get their hands wet in robotics. The students will be able to add motors, sensors, controllers and many other items to the ROV. All while learning to code and build. After the completion of Kai the ROV will be able to transform into a more commercial ROV also with a new line of affordable easy to use underwater ROVs.

Kai Rover will be made up of mostly custom created and 3D printed parts.

The Team

Matthew Pylant

Team Leader

Product Description

This is a underwater ROV learning device. The original concept was to create a underwater ROV that myself and my team could use to explorer flooded caves in and around North Alabama. As time went on the goal changed into something that could be easy for students to tear down, rebuild and upgrade. This would give them the chance to learn about underwater ROVs and how they work.

You can keep up with what's happening with Kai at our Trello Board

Trello Board Link

Innovation Claim

Kai Rover is innovative because there is no prior ROVs on the market today that's main focus to teaching students the workings of an underwater ROV.

First Stage Prototype


Top Control Board


PS2 Controller Board


Top Control Board

Kai Rover Top.png

Test Print of Motor Thruster


Sample of code


Second Stage Prototype

First Control Boards

The first test control boards have been put together and are currently being tested for any issues that I didn't catch in the drawing. These boards include a fast connect connector for the LCD and the extra PS2 Controller Board that isn't pictured. The RS422 is RJ45 jacks for fast and easy use. Power and video ports are two-wire screw-down type connectors.

PS2 Control Boards

Kai Rover will have a PlayStation 2 control board that will come with it also, this board will allow the user to either install a wireless/wired controller. This will give the user the option to use a controller that pretty much everyone has used. It will have the PS2 connector on the top and on the bottom will be a plug-in harness that will connect the board to the top side main control board. 

Version 2.0 Design


For the newest prototype design, I was looking to create something more streamlined that looks like something that we might see in real life. Som with this design the top part is a clear dome that will house the camera and you will be able to see down into the ROV and see all the control boards and so on. This dome will be not removable since it will give direct access to the control boards. To access the inside of the ROV there will be a water type cover on the bottom that is a two-part cover to help keep water out. Since I opted to only use two thrusters on this design the ROV will go up and down by two small water bladders on the inside that you will be able to control. The more water inside them the lower it will go. The less and the higher in the water it will sit.

First Power On Test

Today 11/3/21 I was able to complete the first power-on of both control boards. Everything powered on like it was supposed to. I did run into an issue with the microcontroller not letting me upload the code to them. I have placed an order for two new ones with updated chips. This should fix any issues I'm having.

LCD Program Test

When Kai is powered on it will go through a self-test to see what is all connected and working correctly. It will then show Kai Disabled. This will stay on the screen until you turn on the controller and press the start button.

New Micocontrollers

I ended up getting away from the cheap knock-off Arduinos that I was trying to use and went with two of the Arduino Nano Every boards. These boards use the ATMega4809 which has 50% more program memory than the Uno. It also has a 200% bigger RAM. This will help with pushing out more code!