Towards Active Course Marks for Autonomous Sailing Competitions
This paper describes the environmental monitoring / regatta beacon buoy under development at the Laboratory of Autonomous Systems (LSA) of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto. On the one hand, environmentalmonitoring of open water bodies in real or deferred time is essential to assess and make sensible decisions and, on the other hand, the broadcast in real time of position, water and wind related parameters allows autonomous boats to optimise their regatta performance. This proposal, rather than restraining the boats autonomy, fosters the development of intelligent behaviour by allowing the boats to focus on regatta strategy and tactics. The Nautical and Telemetric Application (NAUTA) buoy is a dual mode reconfigurable system that includes communications, control, data logging, sensing, storage and power subsystems. In environmental monitoring mode, the buoy gathers and stores data from several underwater and above water sensors and, in regatta mode, the buoy becomes an active course mark for the autonomous sailing boats in the vicinity. During a race, the buoy broadcasts its position, together with the wind and the water current local conditions, allowing autonomous boats to navigate towards and round the mark successfully. This project started with the specification of the requirements of the dual mode operation, followed by the design and building of the buoy structure. The research is currently focussed on the development of the modular, reconfigurable, open source-based control system. The NAUTA buoy is innovative, extensible and optimises the on board platform resources.
KeywordsGlobal Navigation Satellite System Global Navigation Satellite System Inertial Measurement Unit Autonomous Sailing General Packet Radio Service
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