Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 5: Part 2 – Two new records

The world’s youngest autonomous airboat operator

Meet Aiden. He is nine years old and one day he wants to be a pilot. On Saturday we trained him in becoming an airboat operator.

The first component of Aiden's training was transporting the boats.
Next Aiden became a connectivity expert - holding up the router.

Finally Aiden is controlling three different boats at once.
Aiden used his experience in video games to become the youngest ever autonomous airboat controller. He sent the boats off to different locations, monitoring them to ensure that they didn’t crash into anything.

In order for the hundreds of autonomous airboats to be built and deployed across the world they must be easy to build, operate and maintain. The team at CMU has worked tirelessly to simplify the control system of the airboats in order to make them extremely intuitive. Aiden's immediate ability to control the airboats demonstrates that just about anyone can be an airboat operator.

Five boats at once

For the first time, we had five boats in the water.
Since the beginning of the trip we were striving to get five boats operating autonomously in the water. Until Saturday we had only managed to run 4 at one time. On Saturday, however, after waiting out a particular nasty thunderstorm we successfully deployed 5 boats. Abhinav was able to control all of them and give them different paths to follow. This success continued for over an hour before finally our power supply (a UPS) gave up.

It was extremely exciting to see all of the boats in the water at once. They performed flawlessly and, for the first time for me, really demonstrated the potential of the airboats.

The volcano in the background.
These boats were operating for over an hour.

After our power-supply gave up the boats needed to be rescued.

The results of the testing

The 5TE sensor was strapped to two boats to once again gather data about temperature and electrical conductivity. After processing this data we found some rather amazing results. The level of electrical conductivity in this water was much higher than we had found the day before.
We deployed the boats before and after the rain. After the rain the electrical conductivity dropped from 1.5820 dS/m to 1.2928. The temperature also dropped, from 31.8112°C to 30.1313 °C.

At the end of the post are the results in graphical form.

An important meeting

As word spread around town that there was some interesting testing occurring on the lake we received word that the regional director for environment and natural resources wanted to meet with us.
We joined him for dinner at a house and showed him the boats. He seemed to be quite interested as we described the potential of the boats. We hope to be able to work with him and his organization in the future to conduct some extensive tests in the lake.
We described what the boats could do and the various different sensors that could be fitted on to them.

Abhinav unnecessarily explained the boats right down to the basics. "This is a com-pu-ter".

Antonio was very excited to operate the boats himself.

All in all it was a fantastic day and we were extremely proud of our efforts and the fantastic work of the team back at CMU.

The graphs...

Electrical conductivity (before rain)
Temperature (before rain)
Electrical conductivity (after rain)

Temperature (after rain)

1 comment:

  1. Oh come on! I just gave him a very high level overview of our system.