Autonomous Boat Ver.1

An autonomous boat

Tinkersoc recently held a small challenge for some of the older Tinkerer’s, to build an autonomous boat using bottles as the main buoyancy aid; off-the-shelf autopilots were not allowed.

Our group decided to massively overkill this challenge:

Mechanically our boat comprised of an electronics box meant for submarines, Bulgin waterproof connectors for external connections (motors, radios, etc.), a spoiler with antenna mounting points, adjustable metal frame (to alter between stability vs turning ability) and 3D printed housings - the motors (2 for skid steering) were also re-machined to attached directly to our props.

For power we used a 16000mAh 4s Lipo, because we wanted a ‘reasonable’ amount of battery-life. A redudant power supply also supplied the main electronics.

Electronics used an ARM processor, long-range Zigbee device for shore telemetry communication (with handheld receiver units), ESC’s with modified firmware to better monitor the motor status (current draw, temp, etc), a redundant control system for recovery (standard RC), Neo 8M GPS and compass, and finally a completely isolated radio system using GSM to locate the boat if it went missing.

Our boat was huge, had a bonkers draft, was extremely stable (except at full thrust where it would become tippy) and had go faster stripes.

Yeah, we’re cool….