Autonomous solar boat from AGH UST will examine river and lake beds

Computer visualisation of autonomous solar boat from AGH UST

Students of the Special Interest Group “AGH UST Solar Boat”, following the success of their solar boat “Baśka”, are working on a new design. The autonomous boat will work in rivers and water reservoirs, collect and test water samples, as well as carrying out the mapping of water body beds.  

The boat under construction will have the dimensions of 50 cm x 80 cm, the weight of about 15 kilograms, and it will be fully autonomous. Thanks to the use of sensors and advanced control systems based on cameras and GPS navigation, the unmanned boat will be able to follow a predetermined route without the assistance of an operator. Additionally, thanks to the use of photovoltaic panels and lithium-ion batteries, it will be entirely environmentally friendly.  

Information related to the condition of the boat and its location will be sent to the server by means of radio signals. In the same way, the boat will receive instructions related to the route and tasks that the unit will have to complete. In order to avoid a collision with other objects, the steering mechanism will take advantage of vision systems and ultrasonic sensors. 

The main tasks of the device will be the dynamic mapping of water reservoir beds and taking the samples of water. An additional element of the boat will be a small-dimensions drone, which after taking off from the board of the unit will support its operation thanks to the mounted cameras. 

AGH UST Solar Boat are already planning to test the capabilities of the boat during the 2020 RoboBoat competition held in the United States in June. Within the framework of the competition, the boat will have to move along a specified canal, identify an acoustic signal, locate an object on water, and take it to a given platform. During the event, the device will also undergo speed tests. What is important, all challenges will take place without the participation of a human operator. 

The autonomous boat, currently in the design phase, is not the first construction of the AGH UST Solar Boat team. In 2017, the manned solar boat “Baśka” was built in the shipyard in Ropczyce. The boat took leading positions in solar boat challenges, for example, in Monaco and the Netherlands. This season, the students are also working on a new solar boat, whose improved geometry and smaller weight will make it possible to obtain even better results. 


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