Now is the Time to Make an Autonomous Boat

It's amazing all of the things you can create by simply using Raspberry Pi. One of those things includes an autonomous boat as showing by Instructables user, Silver Jimmy. The first step is producing a POCV or proof-of-concept-vehicle.

Some of the core components needed are:

  • Model B Raspberry Pi.
  • 8gb SD Card.
  • Models By Design Fibre Glass Hull.
  • Models By Design 40mm Kort Nozzle.
  • Raspy Juice.
  • Flytron Navigatron V2 i2c GPS.
  • CMPS10 - Tilt Compensated Compass Module.
  • Adafruit 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo Driver - i²c interface - PCA9685.
  • Mtronics MicroViper Marine10 Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) .
  • MFA 919D 540 Motor With Attached Single Ratio Metal Gearbox 2.5:1.
  • Raboesch Brass 4 Bladed Kort Propeller.
  • Raboesch Waterproof Propshaft.
  • Kinobo 5 Megapixel USB Webcam.
  • Six 5000mAH 1.2 Volt NiMH SubC cells.
  • Flytron 3.3v & 5v Tiny Regulators.
  • Digital Temperature Sensor Breakout - TMP102.
  • TP-Link TL-WN722N High-Gain Wi-Fi USB Dongle.
  • RockBLOCK Satellite Communicator.
  • SMA Female to SMA Male Panel Mount Pigtail Extension Cable.
  • 2x 45mm M3 Spacers.

Once you have all your parts together, you can focus on the hull. SilverJimmy chose to use a G.R.P model boat hull based on the Cygnus Marine DS25 fishing boat. He purchased it through a company called Models By Design.

You want to find the centre line of the whole by holding a ruler against one side of the keel to draw a line along the underside of the model. You then repeat this on the opposite edge by placing two lines on the uderside. This gives you the opportunity to measure the distance between the two lines. A necessary step for fitting the Kort and the propshaft. Precision is key.

Not to mention, you also need to fit your motor to a strong base for mounting inside the hull. You would then add the upper servo bracket at the rear. What connects the motor output to the propshaft is a universal joint. It is important to properly align the two before setting them into place.

Now, you want to wire it for conductivity to a USB, HDMI and CAT5 e. In total, there are 32 separate wires across the USB, HDMI and network cables.

After that, you need to create a power source. Of course, you can find the instructions (step-by-step) on JimmySilver's page. Sail on!