Navigation and Thrust System for AUVSI RoboBoat

The International RoboBoat Competition (RoboBoat), hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, challenges students to design a boat to autonomously complete various challenges. As rules and tasks change every year, two boat subsystems remain constant: propulsion and navigation. The goal of this project is to design and build these subsystems for reuse over the next several years. Other requirements of the project include designing a system that is reusable and water resistant, meeting assigned budget constraints, and implementing both a remote and on-boat propulsion shutdown switch. With these requirements and constraints as the design space, various solutions were explored and an optimal design that meets requirements was found.


The propulsion system is constrained to using brushless motors that will be controlled by three-phase digital sinusoidal signals. A major challenge of the propulsion control is maintaining stable, smooth thrust through velocity changes instructed by the navigation system. The propulsion system will be controlled through a commercial remote control receiver, and later, by the primary computer to achieve autonomy.



The navigation subsystem must include a global positioning system (GPS) and compass units. The GPS and compass readings will be pre-processed to simplify navigation and control of a competition ready boat.



Project Updates: November 4, 2015 November 11, 2015 November 18, 2015 November 25, 2015
December 2, 2015 December 9, 2015 March 3, 2015



The following documents were developed by the team in order to demonstrate the project design approach and project results.

Who We Are

Client: Nick A. Schmidt
Advisor: Dr. Gary Dempsey
Team Members: Dan R. Van de Water Evan J. Dinelli Michael S. Barnes