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Autonomous Boat

Old 03-13-2007, 12:31 PM
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TUBoat
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Default Autonomous Boat

Hey,
I need some advice on what type of boat to buy. I am looking for a remote control boat that is between 2-3 feet. It needs to have a rudder. It also needs to be able to be modified easily, and by modified I mean I need to be able to take it apart and put equipment on the inside and then put it together again.
I am working on building an autonomous boat for one of my engineering courses. We are putting a micro controller and gps inside the boat. We also will be adding our own servos to control the rudder. We are trying to test a control system for an autonomous airplane that some other students are working on. The boat will be programmed to go to certain points in a lake following the gps system.
Any advice in a relatively inexpensive boat would be great. It does not have to be the latest or greatest boat. The most important thing about it is that we can modify it. We are more less just using it for testing.

Thanks!
Old 03-13-2007, 05:04 PM
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Flabum
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

http://www.rcuniverse.com/market/item.cfm?itemId=266797 or similar.... is elecric powered....
Old 03-13-2007, 06:10 PM
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LtDoc
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

TUBoat ,
By the sound of it, almost any hull of about the right length/size should 'do' you. Depending on the time you have available, you might think about building something along the lines you need. Not really that difficult, but it does take time. I would also think that something along the lines of a 'work' boat, or maybe a freighter would be of more use than some sort of 'go fast' thingy? Lots of possibilities, no idea which would be preferable to you. Good luck.
- 'Doc
Old 03-13-2007, 07:11 PM
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Quicksilver1
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

I was thinking the same thing, having seen some shows on autonomous vehicles, I think high speed might be a bad trait. What about a tug? Lots of room for electronics, manageable speed, and probably quick to correct it's course.
Old 03-14-2007, 06:01 AM
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Jhoyoza
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

Check this out

I got mine at Toys"R"US and it was great for my autonomous boat project

http://forums.parallax.com/forums/de...?f=21&m=161152

http://www.rchobbyexplosion.com/NIKK..._p/nkb-112.htm

I hope this helps.

-J
Old 03-14-2007, 08:49 PM
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TUBoat
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

Thanks...this helps a lot!

Did you modify the servo for the rudder at all? Would it be easily modified? Any major downsides on the boat or suggestions for us?
Old 03-14-2007, 11:59 PM
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Jhoyoza
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

Great!

No actually, I simply hot glued the servo into place and put a nylon screw thru the hole and it fit perfect into the existing rudder lever.

Of course I had to rip out all the stuff they had. If you look carefully there are videos that show rudder operation and how I did it. Couldn't have worked out better! The rudder assembly itself require no modification.

The electronics are quite sophisticated however, if you were to purchase a Parallax starter kit for less than a $100 you could easily figure it out as it is written for high-school level individuals. Truly easy to learn and use. I was not the first to do this and much info is available on the net about autonomous GPS vehicles, you just must make sure you have e a GPS unit capable of waypoints. Garmin handhelds are perfect and inexpensive. The basic Extrex (yellow) on Ebay sells used for less than $50 in many cases, add has over 500 storable waypoints and asynchronous communication port,

Trust me it is a lot easier than you might think, and certainly in the future of the hobby in general. I absolutely LOVE it! I have been considering selling the boat (In working conditions) and getting a larger hull to try fishing with it! I now have an underwater wireless camera and can't wait for the Ice to melt!

Good Lick!

-J

Are you planning to go GPS controlled?

-J
Old 03-15-2007, 02:59 PM
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TUBoat
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

Thanks,
We have a gps already. We are using a msp430 micro controller. That is what we have been using this semester in our class. We have used the parallax boards in the past though for other projects. We also will probably be putting our own servos.
Old 03-19-2007, 03:18 PM
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empirebuilder
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Default RE: Autonomous Boat

TUBoat,
Speaking as a former grad student in robotics, I think in addition to the GPS system you could really "pimp it out" by utilizing a subsumption architecture ala Rodney Brooks at MIT to add collision avoidance to your project.

In addition to your higher level navigation tracking, a robot needs a low level collision avoidance system to avoid unintended obstacles that arise within your path planning environment. In your case, some photodetectors or perhaps a sonar kit (were available back in my day) will help to detect obstacles while path following to your GPS points.

The trick then per the "subsumption architecture" is the lower level collision avoidance system will react to the obstacle by swerving out of the way, then the higher level navigation system has to react by taking over control once the obstacle avoidance algorithm has been completed.

Anyway, sounds like a cool project. Keep us up to date!

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