Mobile Robot Lab - USAL Project 






UNIVERSITY of WESTERN AUSTRALIA - USAL Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Project USAL is the second autonomous submarine built in the Mobile Robot Lab at The University of Western Australia. The shell of an USAL ROV (remotely operated vehicle) has been used as the basis for this design. The ROV has been stripped of its electronics and umbilical cord, and an EyeBot controller with infrared sensors and a digital camera have been used as substitutes. This project commenced in 2005 and sought to begin development on mechanical, control, sonar, navigation, vision and communication systems for the vehicle. The 2005 team consisted of international visitors and final year students, Bernhard Gerl, Michael Drtil, and Aaron Cha, supervised by Thomas Braunl.


Single PVC hull
EyeBot M4 as main controller for sensors and actuators
Mini-PC for image processing
6 infrared distance sensors (PSD)
depth sensor (pressure gauge)
digital compass
digital 3-axes accelerometer
EyeCam digital camera
Leak sensors
power control gauge



1 stern trolling motor
2 control surfaces actuated by servos
1 bow rudder pump for small movements
1 camera movement servo
Communication (when surfaced)
IR remote
Bluettoth (EyeBot)


Thanks to Alec Duncan from the Marine Science Institute of Curtin University for letting us have one of the donated USAL ROV shells and for plenty of valuable discussions.







USAL videos

USAL images

AUV main page







Solarnavigator is a battery electric ASV (Autonomous Solar Vessel), a trimaran with an extremely 

efficient active hull that runs on solar power = energy from nature. This hull form has never been

attempted before, nor has the use of wind energy been used in such manner for crew comfort 

(or complete onboard autonomy). A fleet of such vessels could be the basis of an international peacekeeping, and/or emergency rescue force.





Email:  Email 21st Century Caves  or phone UK:


+ 44 (0) 1323 831727    +44 (0) 7842 607865


Blueplanet Productions, Solar House, BN27 1RF, United Kingdom



European Commission star circle logo  NineSigma, Group, Canada, accelerating technology logo



Project Objectives


Galley | Paints | Screens | Diving

Project Estimates | Record Attempt | PR Events

Batteries | Alloys | Timber | Composites | Navigation | Hydraulics

Motors | Electronics | Solar Panels | Propeller | Transmission | Tooling | Life Support

Tank Testing (Model Construction) & Results



     Terrorists steal an Astute Class nuclear submarine and set about destabilising the world economy


The design of the Solar Navigator boat has been licensed for use in

the John Storm series of books by Jameson Hunter



This website is copyright © 1991- 2012 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.