Cornell AutoBoat aims to innovate novel maritime technology by designing, manufacturing, and testing an autonomous boat capable of image recognition and complex path planning by using computer vision.
Our design process consists of four steps: Research, Design, Manufacturing, and Testing. Feel free to look at our site and learn more about each of these components.
In the research phase, we familiarized ourselves with ship engineering and fluids as well as concurrent literature on the subject.
In the design phase, we optimized performance by doing trade studies and cost-benefit analyses to drive design decisions.
We’ve had success following a semi hull method, where two independent half hulls are created, cured, and combined into a singular hull.
Before beginning the design process, we first needed to research past, present, and future efforts in maritime engineering. We focused on answering our questions with underlying first principles and fundamental concepts, which broke down the complex problem into smaller, simpler tasks. In the research phase, we not only acquired books on ship engineering and fluids concepts, but we also familiarized ourselves with concurrent literature on the subject, aiming to investigate how certain parameters impact performance with potential tradeoffs. Here we also discussed potential manufacturing methods and measured the viability of various techniques. The research phase not only gave us the fundamental tools to mechanically design the boat, but it also prepared us to create our Computer Vision system. We documented our findings and highlighted our valuable insights from this research phase in a master document, which proved to be particularly useful in onboarding new members.
In the design phase, we applied what we learned from our research phase to optimize performance at certain tasks, adhering to the driving requirements from the competition. Here we also performed trade studies and cost-benefit analyses to drive design decisions. For example, the tradeoff between stability and maneuverability narrowed the hull shape from five possible choices to the catamaran shape. Additionally, fluid parameters like Froude number motivated the form of the hull, which is designed to have a form efficiency that maximizes speed during the speed gate task. In this phase interdisciplinary communication was crucial as many mechanical, electrical, and software considerations affect one another.
To create our hulls, we utilize a carbon fiber layup process via 3d printed female mold. We’ve had great success following a semi hull method, where two independent half hulls are created and cured, then combined into a singular hull. The semi-hull manufacturing process utilizes carbon fiber tweed and an epoxy resin + hardener to solidify and stabilize the carbon fiber into our desired hull shape.
Watch us Work
Check out this timelapse of our mechanical team
The boat utilizes dual T200 thrusters that are mounted on the back of each hull. Thrusters are controlled via Electronics Speed Controllers and Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) through the Jetson Nano.