From our friends at the Coastal Observing Research and Development Center at UC San Diego, an APM-based ocean-going kayak! (it uses a variation of the ArduRover code)

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Comment by Gary Mortimer on August 2, 2014 at 1:21am

Very cool

Comment by Trung Nguyen on August 2, 2014 at 3:50am

Cool.  Any more details?  Purpose?  I could not find any info on the CORDC site.

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 2, 2014 at 6:02am

Here is a link to a catamaran style robotic survey vessel: eTrac RSV 

I am presently working on a dual pontoon robotic survey vessel that will use a Garmin Intelliducer for precision depth measurements. I plan on using a Pixhawk navigation controller with dual GPS for accurate navigation.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by F. C. Bearsch on August 2, 2014 at 6:21am

That would be great here... Thinking the same in a paddleboard 

Comment by Gary McCray on August 2, 2014 at 2:31pm

Looks great Tom,

Did you fabricate those Pontoons yourself?

TIG welded Aluminum?

Going to do a Tilapia Census in the Canals? (Didn't have Tilapia when I lived there).

Regarding the Ocean going Kayak, looks really good, but Black seems to me to be a singularly bad choice for color, at night or on dark days it will make it as hard as possible to see and avoid.

International Orange would be good.



Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on August 2, 2014 at 2:36pm


Being a System Engineer I look for product to integrate into any project that I am working on at the moment instead of trying to build my own.

In this case, the pontoons are a Great Planes product and are designed to replace the landing gear on planes of around a .60 engine size. They can support around 10 pounds.

I am planning on putting propulsion gear from a Traxxas Villain EX R/C racing boat in each pontoon and use a Pixhawk to provide skid steering navigation.

The Pixhawk will be mounted on a plate attached to the wire frame between the pontoons and will be protected by a waterproof cover.

I am also working on a Traxxas Villain EX R/C racing boat to use in autonomous boat competitions though they are still kind of rare:-)


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Trung Nguyen on August 2, 2014 at 3:37pm


Interesting projects.  Are those pontoons about 1m in length?  I would think the Villain will have puny props driven with high kv motors.  They may not be very effective driving that large of a "hull".  Depending on your mission, you probably want bigger, slower turning props.  I used to be into FE boats before planes/uav's and have often thought about what I could do with APM on the water.  Keep us posted.

Comment by Gary McCray on August 2, 2014 at 5:15pm

A bit pricey, but I've been looking for a decent brushless trolling motor that could be converted and the Protuar (from Australia is available in Canada) for $650.00:

Couldn't find a US distributor though.

I thought about running open frame brushless with ceramic or silicon carbide bearings, but one problem seen by others in the open ROV project is that clearance is so small and grit so prevalent that both the bearings and the stator clearance is rapidly compromised.

Low KV large diameter Multicopter motors should work and am currently thinking about sealing the motor completely and providing magnetic coupling to prop / thruster.

If you wanted to go seriously deep you could immerse motor in Silicone fluid (cool better anyway).

Optimally, this should be designed with the coils in a center completely encapsulated unit surrounded with some clearance by the magnetic rotor with the prop blades attached to the outside of the rotor.

Bearings / bushings are still a problem, but there are a number of submersible approaches.

Comment by Rustom Jehangir on August 2, 2014 at 8:39pm


We've been working on a thruster for applications exactly like this. In fact, we've been building a few APM powered vehicles for the water. (

If you're interested, check them out at We're launching a Kickstarter campaign pretty soon. The thrusters will be much cheaper than anything on the market right now (except using a brushless motor directly), and they are built for the ocean.


Comment by Gary McCray on August 2, 2014 at 8:54pm

Hi Rusty,

That pretty much looks like exactly what I am looking for.

I know there are a few pro units and customs built into submersibles that work like this but they are totally out of my price league.

Out of curiosity I would like to know what you are doing for the exposed bearings if that isn't a secret, but you can probably sign me up for a pair of these.

Great Job.

Best Regards,



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