MRPMG Surface Aquatic Test Platform

Goal :

Our long-term goal is to build a submersible capable of exploring various marine ecosystems, while supporting a number of science experiments.  Our submersible will most likely be called  'Nautilus'.

Submersibles are complex feats of engineering that require strong design skills, a good understanding of the harsh marine environments within which they operate, and investment in expensive parts and materials.

A gentler approach to acquiring essential skills involves starting with a less demanding design challenge focused on marine craft. This enables experimentation within a gentler marine ecosystem compared to the harsh conditions found in the underwater environments for which submersibles are designed.

This line of thought led us to establish a short-term objective: investing in the design and construction of our craft, called MRPMG Surface Aquatic Test Platform (SATP). Our design will be quite similar to the one shown in the picture below. It is a dual-hull  craft built by electrosync (see: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4884505 for details).

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What :

The MRPMG Surface Aquatic Test Platform (SATP)  will support various science experiments and explore marine ecosystems around us. It will be a dual-hull platform that floats on water and will be autonomous from a navigation standpoint. We plan to include the following sensors to

  1. Measure water turbidity,
  2. Measure water CO2 content,
  3. Measure water temperature, and
  4. Measure water pH level.

Each measurement will be recorded with a timestamp and corresponding GPS coordinates for creating maps.

There are possibilities for adding more sophisticated sensing capabilities such as vision, 3D mapping etc. We will consider these as the project progresses.

When :

The (tentative) timelines for the SATP are as follows:

  1. Finalize the design (platform, basic science experiments): Mar 2024
  2. Complete the initial build: June 2024
  3. Begin the first phase of testing: September 2024
  4. Finalize updates to the platform based on the outcomes of tests: November 2024
  5. Present the project and findings at the Monash Maker Faire: December 2024

How :

The approach being considered for the SATP is as follows:

  1. Simple dual-hull design with carbon cross members
  2. Flat platform housed on top of the carbon cross members
  3. Single large brushless DC electric motor, lithium powered, dual rudder
  4. Autonomous (navigation) based on Ardupilot
  5. Onboard camera to take pictures and with live streaming capability
  6. Ability to perform various science experiments, record and store data

What's Been Done So Far :

Here's a summary of the progress made so far:

  1. We have identified a suitable single rudder boat design, 3D printed the parts, assembly is complete and testing now in progress.
  2. We have identified a suitable double rudder design, design modifications made to the hull, 3D printed the parts, assembly complete and testing now in progress.
  3. Learning gained from the above experiences are helping shape our thinking for the larger dual-hull SATP design
  4. BoM (Bill Of Materials) finalized and Ardupilot investments have been made. The intention here is to familiarize ourselves with the features of the Ardupilot platform.
  5. We are now working on the dual-hull SATP design.

What’s Next :

To hear more about the work we are doing, see how you might be able to contribute and help out with the design/build/test of the SATP please head over to https://melbourne-rpi.com.au/ and click on the “Discord” link to join us on discord. You will find us at the #submersible channel. You can also meet us in person at our monthly meetups, please RSVP at - https://www.meetup.com/Melbourne-Raspberry-Jam/

See you all soon!

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