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Mapping Results from a Rugged ArduBoat

(Kevin) #1

With the discussions lately on Unmanned Surface Vehicles, I thought I would share my results for anyone else who is considering building one.

This USV is being used for my master’s thesis in Geographic Information Science and Technology at the University of Southern California. I built this vehicle to affordably map eelgrass in shallow water where a heavy manned vessel would be impractical.

Some of my previous entries can be found here: http://diydrones.com/group/arduboat-user-group/forum/topics/rugged-arduboat-for-mapping-applications


It does around 1.5-2.0 m/s at full power and I get about two hours on 2x 10,000mAh Lipo batteries (Same ones used in the BlueROV2). There are two T-200 thrusters mounted on the bottom providing skid steering. The 3D printed weed guards from Jason Spall are mounted over them. Eelgrass fouling was a bit of an issue before.

Using a Lowrance HDS-7 and a TotalScan transducer I am able to pretty accurately map the bottom and mosaic it into a useful map.

The survey mode still doesn’t work right for me in QGC, but the waypoints work fine.

So what’s next? I’m thinking of doing two projects:

  1. Continuing the work Rusty and BlueRobotics started with the SolarSurfer project. I would really like to get something out roaming outside the California Channel Islands.
  2. Making a hull for a hovering torpedo shaped UUV. Yes, I know the navigation isn't quite there yet...but it will be one day.
Let me know your thoughts or if anyone wants additional pictures. I tried to keep this as simple and cheap as I could.


(Jacob) #2

What kind of epoxy did you use to pot that silicone power wire, and how well did it stick? You obviously aren’t putting it under pressure. I have been hesitant to pot silicone wire, because from what I gather, nothing really adheres to it.


(undersearobotics.com) #3

Outstanding work Kevin!

(TCIII) #4


I suggests that you try either Mission Planner or APM Planner 2.0 if you are having trouble getting QGC to work properly for you application.



(Kevin) #5

@Jacob I actually don’t have the wires potted yet as I still might be moving some stuff around. When I do, I was just going to use clear marine silicone to lock the wires in place. I don’t need any pressure rating, so I feel that might do a decent job of keeping any water splashes out and I can pop them out later if I need to.

@TCIII I have both Mission Planner and APM Planner 2 loaded on my field tablet, but I always felt like MP was a bit clunky to use. I’ll have to take a look at see if either one will do auto survey work better.

(Kevin) #6

Here’s the final thesis manuscript for reading or just looking at the pictures: http://spatial.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Klemens_Kevin.pdf

(Tim Pierce) #7

Ooohhh which thruster guard did you print, was it mine or the other one? If it was mine, any design feedback on it?

Also I really need a sonar!

Neat project!

(Kevin) #8

@piercet I used the other ones for this project, but I intent to try yours (and the thicker mount) for my next USV. even with the other guards, I still sucked in a few blades of eelgrass and the BR team mentioned there was some fouling when I lent it to them for equipment testing.

Figuring out some good anti-fouling is critical for USVs…I can’t just pull them back on a tether :slight_smile:

(Tim Pierce) #9

Ok, cool. If you find you need anything adjusted or a custom shape (maybe mounting points for longer sweep wires off the front as well?) let me know