Aquatic Drone (APM-powered boat)


3689477726?profile=originalThis project utilises the concept of using the existing APM and configuration tools and a seperate radio link to send back specific telemetry data, in this case depth and a seperate GPS marker so that no code on the APM needs to be changed.

I see this as an advantage doing two links as it means that those that are not comfortable doing a lot of code changes can play round and develop links on the side no matter what form of drone or scientific data add on needs to be applied.

The seperate telemetry unit utilizes a arduino running the new software serial code which time slices between the MTK GPS running at 9600 and a Cruzpro depth sounder running NMEA-0183.  The seperate radio link is currently a radiometrix spaceport modem and is sent to a text file. Below is some of the text file sent via the long range modem.  The telemetry is untouched for the APM and is sent back via X-bees.

,LAT=,-40.168949 ,LON=,175.363296 ,SAT=,9 ,Depth=,$SDDPT,002.1,*7A
,LAT=,-40.168949 ,LON=,175.363327 ,SAT=,9 ,Depth=,$SDDPT,002.1,*7A
,LAT=,-40.168949 ,LON=,175.363327 ,SAT=,9 ,Depth=,$SDDPT,002.1,*7A

Currently all the links and the code have been tested and the boat (the largest deep V hobby king could provide) arrived yesterday so now we start the hardware.

Pictures below are of the two positions of the two seperate links as they need to be a close match.



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  • To date placed apm1 with rover code as well as mounted a smaller secondary telemetry Xbee. Working on a different frequency than the apm telemetry radio hardware and software appears nearly ready to run, some range checking has been done on both radios and gps units 


  • pictures of boat after first trial in pool.  The transducer is mounted at the back on the left side of transom.

    The MTK gps is still reading wrong and was at least 20mtrs out from where the pool was, this gps is not connected to the APM but is the same model but reconfigured using the drones tool down to 9600 and is using tiny gps as the reference for the depth sounder which was correct for the pool depth.

    LAT=,-40.169418 ,LON=,175.362823 ,SAT=,7 ,Depth=,$SDDPT,001.1,*79




  • Yes we will try to use ArduRover or ArduPilot with running the boat as the exercise is to set up the way points and run the boat using existing setups. 

    We just are working our way thru Harald's blog as above.

    Thanks both for the comments.

    We are doing this project so that people who are limited in coding can get some ideas on running non standard drones without the need to freak out over complicated autopilot setups and concentrate on what they want to such as data collection that is out of the norm.

    Eventually this project can be used for mapping the shoreline for fishing holes as New Zealand has ever changing coastline holes close in to shore where amature fishermen use long lines and tow devices that are not automated. 

  • Not quite sure what you're trying to do, but couldn't you simply use the ArduRover2 code to run the boat?  I don't think it would care if it's on a rover or a boat.

  • Could be helpful for you to contact Harald. He also put ardupilot into water ->

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