United States Geological Survey (USGS)Autonomous Boat Project
The U.S.G.S. autonomous boat is being developed as a very low cost, off – the – shelf component vehicle for unmanned survey use in very shallow bodies of water and surf zones. The unit is a proof – of - concept prototype boat. The vehicle has proven capable of remote controlled or
autonomous operation. In the autonomous mode a series of pre-determined track lines are loaded into the autopilot and the vehicle runs the survey lines with out operator intervention, returning to the operator at the end of the programend run. The boat is equipped with two Minn Kota 12 volt trolling motors operating in a differential thrust mode via a RoboteQ 2550 motor controller which in turn is controlled by an A.U.A.V. EZI-NAV autopilot system. A Garmin DGPS contols positioning. For testing purposes the boat is currently equipped with video, MaxStream data telemetry, boat positioning and control telemetry. The boat will carry side-scan and bathymetry systems for survey work. Survey data will be collected locally on the vessel and will be transmitted back to shore in real time and near real time.