ROBOBOAT ASV Competitions



United States Naval Academy - Autonomous Surface Vessel Team 2011 and 2012


The following table summarizes the utilized electrical components and provides a brief description of their functions.

 Component Make/Model Specs. Function
 12V, 8Ah
These two batteries provide a 12V and 24V bus.
Remote E-Stop
 Custom PCB
  The board receives an RC signal that will disconnect primary power to the RoboteQ board.
Regulator  Custom PCB
  This board generates a 6V bus for such low voltage devices as the RC receiver and micro-processor.
RC switch board
Custom PCB
  This board receives an RC signal to switch between autonomous control and tele-operation.
RC receiver
Model: T8FG
  Receives RC signals from corresponding Futaba transmitter.
Micro-processor based IMU
 Custom PCB
  This functional inertial measurement unit is based around the Rabbit 3000 microprocessor. This board has the following: 1) magnetic compass, 2) GPS (not utilized), 3) three axis rate gyros, and 4) three axis accelerometers.

This board is primarily utilized for the low-level heading and thruster control (it is able to achieve a control frequency of 30 Hz). It receives it commands from the Sony laptop.
RoboteQ amplifier board
Model: ADX1500
 80V, 30A (continuous)
This board receives RC commands from that correlate to the voltage to be applied to the thruster windings. Currently, we have maximum applied voltage of 24V.
Sony VIA laptop
Model: VPCX116GX
  The laptop serves as the high-level navigation engine. It measures the following: 1) GPS and heading from the Airmar, and 2) range to obstacles from the SICK LM111. From these primary two measurements, it calculates the desired heading and speed of the vehicle which is sent to the micro-processor.

The laptop could not be utilized to provide low-level heading control as the navigation loop frequency is on the order of 0.5 Hz.

The laptop is running under Windows XP and the navigation algorithms are written within the MATLAB software environment.


The USNA 2011 USV shaved a lot of weight off the previous vessel


The design and construction efforts of Jon can be summarized in the following table:

 Length Beam Height  Draft  Weight
 3.5 ft
(42 in)
2.6 ft
(31 in)
 2.2 ft
(26 in)
0.8 ft
(9.5 in)
 58 lbs

The following table discusses some of the selected equipment and their corresponding functions:

 Component Model  Specs Function
Airmar GPS
 PBS200 Position: +/- 6 (ft)
Heading: +- 0.5 (deg)
The Airmar sensor provides the GPS (x,y) position of the ASV. In addition, the Airmar provides the navigation
LMS111 +- 270 (deg) field of view.

16 (m) sensing range
The SICK sensor will be utilized to locate objects in the water out to a distance of 16 (m).

The range returns are processed with a custom clustering algorithm that allows for isolation of objects of a certain size (the buoys will measured so we can filter out background returns such as the shore).
VideoRay thrusters
 DC Produce approximately 10 (lbf) at 12V.
We opted to use the DC thrusters rather than the BLDC thrusters due to availability of the RoboteQ power amplifier (the RoboteQ is designed for dual DC motors).



The Electrical Layout:

The same electrical schematic was carried over from the 2010 design; however, the footprint was reduced to be contained within the pelican case.




 Midn. William Queen
 Midn. Trentt James
 Midn. Jason Kremers
 ENS John Weissberg






MIDN Queen serves as the 2011 ASV team captain. Bill is primarily responsible for developing the buoy chain navigation algorithm. He is a rising senior (1/C) at the U.S. Naval Academy. 

MIDN James is in charge of the integration of vision capabilities on the ASV. Trentt is a rising senior (1/C) at the U.S. Naval Academy.

 MIDN Kremers has provide an active Google Map/ MATLAB interface that utilizes vision processing techniques to promote path planning (such as shore hugging). Jason is a current senior at the U.S. Naval Academy. 

ENS Weissberg is a 2010 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. John was a member of the 2010 ASV team. Over the summer of 2010, he took lessons learned from the AUVSI competition and designed and constructed the current year's vessel.










The Autonomous Surface Vehicle Competition (ASVC), now the RoboBoat Competition, is a student competition based around unmanned boats operating under rules of the waterway. This includes littoral area navigation, channel following and autonomous docking. This is typically done with computer vision, multi-sensor fusion techniques, proactive and reactive path planning, and machine learning approaches using embedded systems within the vehicle.


The use of unmanned autonomous sailing craft for sustained oceanographic observations could result in sea surface measurements that have higher spatial and temporal resolution than contemporary methods such as Lagrangian floats, moored buoys, manned expeditions and satellite observations. Mission-specific autonomous sailing platforms could provide energetically sustainable mission-specific systems to forecast environmental events and to trace the distribution of meteorological and ocean conditions over a long-term period.


















Bad boy on the block, the ultimate RoboBoat. Solarnavigator uses an advanced SWASSH hull as the platform to mount the world's first autonomous circumnavigation. A fleet of such vessels could be the basis of an international peacekeeping or emergency rescue force. Especially when equipped with the Scorpion anti-pirate laser weapon.




This website is copyright © 1991- 2013 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bird logo and names Solar Navigator and Blueplanet Ecostar are trademarks ™.  The Blueplanet vehicle configuration is registered ®.  All other trademarks hereby acknowledged and please note that this project should not be confused with the Australian: 'World Solar Challenge'™which is a superb road vehicle endurance race from Darwin to Adelaide.  Max Energy Limited is an educational charity working hard to promote world peace.