Autonomous sail boat part two

Things are slowly moving forward.


The status right now is:

  • Boat has done some sea trials. It sails, and it sails better than expected.
  • Windvane is integrated with APM using a separate Arduino nano and I2C to the APM
  • APM installed in boat with GPS, compass and telemetry. Next step is to start logging data for use in for example simuliations the coming winter months
  • Sail Simulator installed on my home PC. 
  • Created a small processing program to read NMEA from the simulator and to emulate keyborad commands to it to control rudder and sheet.

Next step:

  • start writing a simple autopilot for sail simulator so i can develop steering and navigation algorithms this winter
  • Continue sea trials to gather as much data as possible before it gets to cold.

That is where i am!


Continued here

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  • My efforts are continued here.

  • this is just too cool... i'm following this..

  • Harry, 

    What do you want to know?  :)  

    Since i wrote the blog post i have improved the simulation environment. I have implemented a simple PID control loop to keep the simulator boat at a desired heading. 

    I have a small program on the simulator PC that steers the boat by sending keystokes to the Sail Simulator. It also reads the NMEA messages sent from the simulator.  That program acts as a server to which my autopilot software connect. 


  • Tell us more, please.

  • That is cool.  Autonomous sailboat, wow.

  • So far i have only used the APM libraries to read the sensors for logging purposes. I think using the Rover project as a start is a great idea. The only problem is that i will probably need ground station features that aren't available in existing mavlink-based applications. But maybe implementing Mavlink in my own GS is not that hard.


  • Do you want to write whole autopilot code by your own? I think you can modify Rover code for APM. BTW cool project!

  • I shot a short video on my second test sail. But watching it would just make you fall asleep. Almost no wind so the boat moved sloooowly past the camera.

  • nice to see it coming along with updates. post some vid too if ever

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