To complement our plans for underwater sensor deployments we are taking on the development of drones to help automate surveys and other tasks. Our hope is to attract a community of contributors who can help to create affordable, generally available surface and underwater drones capable of long autonomous missions. We’ve been working on an ASV (autonomous surface vehicle) and recently completed our first prototype based on open source frameworks. The technology stack combined the latest in machine vision (stereo cameras and a GPU) with established drone platforms like Pixhawk and ArduPilot. Our first prototype version was a proof of concept for the electronics and software and what you can see below is the design of a concept that we believe can materially contribute to automating and scaling necessary Ocean conservation tasks.

  • Capable of 35km autonomous missions

  • Able to indefinitely loiter in place

  • Stereo camera for obstacle avoidance

  • Long range Wifi and Cell communication

  • Max speed of 6km/h

  • Target cost of less than $5,000

  • Dimensions with solar panels 1.6m x 1.7m x .45m

  • Able to fold up and check in on commercial flights

  • Easily detachable amas (side panels) so that solar panels can be easily removable for smaller missions

  • The primary hull can travel on battery power alone for about 16km

  • This makes transport a lot easier as the dimensions are then reduced to 1.6m x .4m

  • Downward facing camera port

  • Sonar for depth measurements

  • Mechanical mounting bracket with ability to run wires for power and communications into the center hull

  • Built with mechanical, electrical, and software integration in mind


Get Involved

We would like to hear from you if you need an ASV like this or can contribute your skills to completing it’s development.
Please email us at info@aqualink.org to get involved.