Lessons on the First Open Water Test

Lessons on the First Open Water Test

It’s never too early to go out and play with robots.

Just returned from Lake Berryessa for my first ever autonomous boat test on open water.  Some notes so I don’t forget the lessons learned.

  • I managed to get three test runs in for trimming and adjusting the turn rates.  Unfortunately,  it turned out the boat leaks and that was all I could do.  I did test it in a tub and in a creek, but I should have let it soak for a long time to determine if any issues would arise by longer periods of time in the water.  I was about to send it off on a longer journey so thankfully I checked, I don’t think I would have gotten it back.
  • I set a GPS point too close to shore.  I didn’t have the confidence to set it way out in the open water as I have no means of retrieving it(like say, if it started leaking).  A couple of times during a test I had to take manual control since it was going to run ashore.  This didn’t allow me to determine if it was actually going to the waypoint or not, and what might have been going wrong.
  • Think I’m going to need some type of recovery vessel.  I have a wet suit, perhaps I should have brought that for worst case scenarios.
  • A headlamp flashlight would have been ideal.
  • It was a steep hike to the shore, all my gear should have fit in one backpack.
  • Obviously, cheap DIY foam board boats are out.  It’s time to brainstorm a new craft.
Lake Berryessa 1/15/18

Not quite a success.  Not quite a failure.  Of all things to happen, it was actually  pretty good.  Some important lessons learned without any losses.  And some nice pictures.  Got to experiment with robots, see nature, take some pictures.  Maybe it was a success.

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