GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat

compass being tested on boat 6 Snoopy the Viking
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Snoopy's "Recce" Page

The Recce Video is now available: first missions with the experimental boat 6.
This page last updated 8pm Tuesday 15th July 2014 UK time.

Robin Race piccy of boat10 You may have reached this "Recce" page by accident, or from Snoopy's Robot Boat "Front" Page. Click on the link to know more about Snoopy's robot boat intended to cross the Atlantic, from UK to USA.

This "recce" page was created to show a few pictures after recent experiments on future electronics and software - or rather: having some fun asking Snoopy, in his experimental boat6, to perform a "recce" mission, and sail out to film Boat 10, skippered by Snoopy the Viking, at the 24/7 reliability test position.

The picture on the right is from the video showing the race between Snoopy's Boat10 (on the right), manned by Snoopy the Viking, and experimental Boat6, which carries the video camera. That's Boat6 in the small picture above, leaning over in a strong wind. You may wish to play Snoopy's Race Video.

Recce piccy of boat10 I've just finished editing another video, showing some of the best bits from Snoopy's first "recce" missions. The video is now ready, and you can see it by clicking on Recce Video.

On the left is a picture from video taken by Boat6, after sailing out to film Boat10 on 24/7 Reliability test. You can click on either picture for a bigger copy. Boat10, manned by Snoopy the Viking, has ben sailing almost continuously, for months, near this "24/7 Test" Position. At first it was intended to find problems, like things breaking or screws coming loose, and needing Loctite! Now he spends time on 24/7 test while waiting for suitable weather for his next attempt at crossing the Atlantic.

Below that, is a picture from video taken from the shore, through the telephoto lens. This was a "close encounter" at the 24/7 position, with the two boats almost touching. Sadly there was no video from boat 6, the yellow boat on the left, because I forgot to switch on the Mobius video camera ! That's the camera at the rear of Boat 6, on top of the lunchbox holding servo, and hardware to transmit the computer's speech to shore.

Boats 6 and 10 near 24/7 position The Mobius video camera already collects over an hour of video, with it's internal battery and SD card. We could make this longer, if needed, by a bigger SD card and external power. But one hour is usually more than enough.

It is easy to adjust the camera, before a mission, on it's tilt and swivel mount. Normally it points forward, to show where the boat points, and the sails in action, if we are analysing sailing behaviour. It could also point to the rear, or to the side, and get a clear view, unobstructed by sails. But we are learning to expect things like long video clips of sky, or water, if the boat is in strong wind, and the camera pointing sideways !

Below is a panorama of Bray Lake, to explain what is meant by "The Bray Lake Test", and show that the 24/7 position is down the far western end of the lake - but still over 100 metres from any shore. This Bray Lake Test has been used for years, as the first challenge on any new boat. It can often be completed in 30 minutes, but can take much longer, if one of the legs is directly into wind. The far north-west corner of the lake is known as "Snoopy Corner".

The experimental software in boat6 has many new features, such as compass based steering, and speaking more information over the ship-to-shore FM radio. Those technically inclined can visit the Compass Page. The important new "Recce" feature is that the autopilot, if started in Snoopy Corner, will steer boat6 out to the 24/7 waypoint. It will then loiter for 5 minutes, hopefully resulting in several close approaches captured on video. After the five minutes have elapsed, Boat6 is then steered the 160 metres to Waypoint Bravo, from where it completes the Bray Lake Test, and returns to Base, near the drain.

The day earlier, before we added the "5 minute loiter at 24/7 spot" to the software, we started by the boat sailing out from Snoopy Corner, to the 24/7 Position, then back to the bank of Snoopy Corner. When I arrived to do the test, who should be in the exact spot, but Nigel the fisherman. Nigel was very understanding, and Snoopy was still able to fulfil his mission, and show he could do it. Snoopy's return was accurate - between Nigel's fishing rods - but luckily, he did not snag the line. I then changed the software, so as not to tempt fate in future ! :-)

The Bray Lake Test

First test of the "recce 24/7 spot" in software - launching from Nigel's fishing spot ....

launching from Nigel's fishing spot

Getting close to Boat 10 at 24/7 Position ....

Getting close to Boat 10 at 24/7 Position

Returning accurately to Nigel's fishing spot .... Robin did not need the pole - but he did change the software !

Returning accurately to Nigel's fishing spot

GPS Plot of a typical recce mission, from Snoopy Corner, to the 24/7 Position, then back to Base....

GPS Plot of a typical recce mission

Close encounter with Boat 10 at the 24/7 Position .... Mobius camera pointing sideways - note need to allow for upward tilt of boat6! i.e. rotate the camera a little.
Pictures are not included here when the boat leaned over in a strong. i.e. of only the sky or the water ! :-)

recce piccy of Base Arrival

Arriving back to Base....

recce piccy of Base Arrival

© 1991-2014 Robin Lovelock. Please credit if you use material from any of these pages. Thankyou.