Two latest craft of AGH Solar Boat launched

Two new boats were presented by the Special Interest Group “AGH Solar Boat” at the bend of the Vistula River at Bulwar Czerwiński. The result of students’ work is the racing solar boat called “Celka”, and an autonomous boat that can be used for mapping river and lake beds. 

Photo by AGH UST

The solar boat called “Celka”, compared to its predecessor, the first boat named “Baśka”, presented in 2017, is lighter and faster. In the new boat, the constructors from AGH UST used a drive system powered by two engines cooled by water, a control system that enables floating with the use of hydrowings, student-made photovoltaic panels, and a system of bulkheads reinforcing the structure of the hull, for which the students have already submitted a patent application. The technical parameters of the new boat are as follows: length – 6 metres, width – 1.7 metres, and weight – 110 kilograms. 

The new boat is better suited to floating thanks to a lower weight, a new geometry of the hull, and three pairs of hydrowings, which also ensure better stability during the flight," emphasizes Patryk Płaszczak of the Special Interest Group “AGH Solar Boat”. What is more, the hull is reinforced with a system of special bulkheads, which makes it possible to lower the weight while maintaining the boat’s durability and rigidity. The biggest advantage of the boat are the student-made photovoltaic panels, which can provide the maximum total power of 1450W. The maximum speed of the boat is 35 km/h. The presented boat will take part in this year’s international competitions in Portugal, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Germany. 

Photo by AGH UST

The second presented boat is called “R.O.B.U.R.”. It is an autonomous floating unit capable of collecting bathymetric data in real time – a Realtime Online Bathymetry USV Robot. The autonomous boat, second of the kind in Poland, can independently carry out rescue operations and environmental measurements, such as making bathymetric maps of river and lake beds or checking the contamination of air and water. 

In order to perform these tasks, an efficient navigation system is indispensable. It is possible thanks to combining data from the GPS system, acceleration sensors, and a stereo camera. Vision systems based on artificial intelligence make it possible to determine the position of potential obstacles, while the stereo camera provides information about the distance to and between the points on the image. Thanks to combining the information, it is possible to plan the course of the boat,” explains Mieszko Mieruński from the team. 

The boat can be used for all kinds of inspection tasks on water, especially in the areas with limited access for people. In September 2021, the boat made by the AGH UST students will be used for the purpose of mapping ship canals. 

In total, the project involved over one hundred people, who worked on an alternating basis while taking all necessary safety measures and meeting the sanitary requirements. The cost of the autonomous boat is about PLN 100,000, and the cost of Celka is about PLN 250,000.