Keep up-to-date with the Airboat project at Carnegie Mellon University.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Announcing the latest and greatest development in the design and manufacture of autonomous airboats; the new Generation X Autonomous Airboat. Faster, more durable, more maneuverable and more reliable than ever before, it is truly a marvel of modern robotics.
The all new GenX Airboat
Thanks to the hard work of our engineers back in Pittsburgh, we have successfully redesigned the airboats to address many of the shortcomings we noticed while testing in the Philippines. In just one week after the final design was finished and a prototype was tested, five boats were fabricated and now eagerly await testing.
The new GenX has several great new features we know you will enjoy. First of all, the shroud has been completely redesigned to use a single thickness of extruded acrylic. This helps keep manufacturing costs down and material tolerances at a minimum. The base of the shroud now has additional bolts and a locking spacer ring to keep the bearings within from jamming beneath the top retaining ring.
Furthermore, by popular demand, the mesh on the back of the shroud has become a permanent feature rather than a bolt-on lawsuit deterrent. Using a ring to retain the mesh yields a cleaner design and more sturdily secures the mesh to the shroud, resulting in 80% less finger injuries. Nylon standoffs now replace the custom acrylic spacers use to secure the motor a fixed distance from the shroud. These new components are a cheap piece of commercially available hardware that greatly increases airflow to the motor and decreases the number of components that need to be laser cut.
Motor standoffs - Also available in black!
While the shape of the hull is reminiscent of previous models, don't let that deceive you. The new GenX hull is thinner, sleeker and lighter to provide the smoothest ride possible. At just 4" thick, the hull protrudes from the water significantly less than its predecessors, decreasing the effect wind has on boat motion. The bottom of the hulls has also been covered with a protective rubberized compound to increase durability, particularly during repeated visits to the dry dock for repairs.
Rubberized hull coating
All in all, the new GenX is a true achievement in autonomous airboat technology and a testament to what can be accomplished with an Android phone, an idea and a whole lot of undergrad slave labor.