Challenging the Vic-Maui in the Pacific Ocean!
by Serena Ramley, Ada 2.0 Team Captain
Here at UBC Sailbot, we have been working extremely hard over the past year to develop our newest robotic sailboat. We hope to share more of our journey with you as we move from the design phase to construction. The Vic-Maui race challenges boats to travel from Vancouver Island, Canada to the Hawaiian Archipelago. Our goal is to design a robotic sailboat that can complete this challenge fully autonomously. We always strive to have our systems follow the best industry practices, designed with quality in mind and tested extensively. In particular, we have been designing systems, construction methods and testing rigs to be reusable, so we think it’s well worth the time now. We are planning to launch in Summer 2020 to accommodate this more in-depth design. Your support makes this incredible project possible! We intend to do long-distance, high winds testing off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island prior to launching in the ocean, and aim to launch in the middle of the summer in order to retrieve the boat before the start of the next school year.
We will be presenting at these upcoming events (times and locations TBA):
January 17, 19, 20, 21 of 2018:
Vancouver International Boat Show
Presentation & Booth
Feature Exhibit Booth in the Kids Zone:
Friday, January 19th to Sunday, January 21st inside the Stadium
Sunday, January 21st, 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm in Room 1 near the Food Court
January 27, 2018:
March 13, 2018:
We would love to come present our progress and passion at your company anytime between February 17 and 23, 2018! You can email Walker Bell, our Outreach Lead, to arrange a visit.
UBC Sailbot Mechanical Updates
Our team members have been using the Larsson and Eliasson Principles of Yacht Design as the primary guide for design. We took inspiration for our new vessel’s shape from the Volvo Open 60 class of sailboats. We examined the hull lines from 12 vessels from this race, and then optimized five of them for maximum stability and minimum hydrodynamic resistance at our scale using Rhinoceros 3D, Orca 3D, Bentley MaxSURF and SolidWorks. After multiple iterations and consideration of other key parameters, we decided on what we believe to be the optimal hull.
We are planning to use a sandwich structure of carbon fibre and high-density foam, partially built with the assistance of CNC-machining to create a reusable mold for future vessels. We need to heat our core material GURIT CoreCell to 110 degrees Celsius to manipulate its shape. In order to reliably fabricate this, we are designing and building a thermoforming oven.
We created a test rig for our rudder actuation system, where each rudder fin has a linear actuator designed for constant usage, high lifetime and low backdrivability in combination with a rapson slide mechanism to translate the motion. After completing our rig design, which uses two sails, we acquired a boat called the Sea Spray 15, whose rig closely matches our theoretical design.
Through careful hydrostatics analysis, we have determined that we can reuse the same keel design as in our previous vessel. We have structurally designed the hull and its cradle (also known as a launch trailer) with strategically placed towing eyes and lifting eyes to give the new boat the flexibility to enter the water either via ramp or crane.
UBC Sailbot Electrical Updates
Our electrical system is planned with modularity and robustness in mind. The batteries are high energy density lithium ion cells from Energus, combined with marine grade Solara panels that can perform well even in shade and a wide range of heel angles. The solar energy is optimized by a Victron maximum power point tracking (MPPT) device.
We’ve kept the hardware that we were very impressed with in our previous vessel, which includes the Victron’s MPPT, the Hemisphere GPS and the LCJ Capteurs Ultrasonic Wind Sensors.
We custom designed a printed circuit board which we call the Universal CAN Controller Module (UCCM) because it powers any device at its preferred voltage and converts all communication protocols into CAN.
Here you can see the overall hardware architecture on Ada 2.0. The Navigation board, the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, makes higher level decisions about routemaking, while the central controller, a BeagleBone Black, processes the sensor information and passes on key information to the Navigation board. BMS stands for Battery Management System, which includes the Solar Panels, a Low-Voltage Disconnect System, and the MPPT.
UBC Sailbot Software Updates
We are developing a network table to manage sensor data, along with an integrated mobile device-enabled web app to facilitate testing and manual commands. We are creating specialized APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in C++ to send and receive the sensor and actuator signals to use for the overall trajectory planned in routemaking.
While the Mechanical and Electrical teams are normally in the workshop, the Software teams and anyone working on design work meet in a classroom nearby on weekends so that we can stay in close communication.
We hope you enjoyed hearing all these updates! Your kind support has made it possible to achieve this.
by Cinnie Hsuing, Antennas Co-Lead
Here’s a fun tutorial to show you how to easily make parts and assemblies in SolidWorks, using Ada 2.0 as an example. You can read this guide as a PDF here
On the UBC Sailbot team, we believe that all team members should have at least a basic understanding of 3D modeling CAD tools to be able to better communicate their designs. We like using SolidWorks because it’s easy to learn and everyone in engineering at university learns use it in their 1st year of Engineering, and and most continue to use it in programs such as Mechanical Engineering, Integrated Engineering and Engineering Physics.
Although Ada 2.0’s hull was designed using a combination of Rhinoceros 3D, Orca 3D, Bentley MaxSURF and SolidWorks, we use SolidWorks for connecting all the detailed elements so that everyone on the team can visualize what the boat will look like before she’s built.
Hello, UBC Sailbot blog followers, and Happy New Year!
We at Sailbot have a bunch of exciting updates for this new academic term which we would like to take this opportunity to share. First, development of our new vessel is proceeding very well, and we have made great strides in designing her new systems, be they mechanical, electrical, control, and software. Second, we will be at the Vancouver Boat Show next week – drop by and say hi!
Our new vessel, currently codenamed Ada 2.0, will operate much closer to home – goals for her include competition in the Vic-Maui Yacht race, as well as intensive local testing and development of a highly sophisticated marine obstacle avoidance system.
Our new vessel will be a more “traditional” boat than was Ada. She will feature a sloop rig, which will allow better performance at a wide range of points of sail. She will also feature a dual rudder, which will decrease the chances of failure by reducing the force on the individual rudders, and by decreasing the size of each rudder, which will passively reduce the chance of fouling. The hull hydrodynamics of Ada 2.0 are based on modified hull designs of successful long-range single-handed racing sailboats, and four hull designs are currently being analyzed with various naval architecture software including MAXSURF and ShipMo3D. This analysis will be finished in late January, and we plan to build the hull using molded composite construction this upcoming summer.
The basic building blocks of our power system have been identified, and our designs have been reviewed by various industry experts from Energus, Solara, Victron and the UBC lab funded by our sponsor, Alpha Technologies. We are currently working on the AIS system and the integration thereof.
Our new electrical and control system will also be highly modular, and will use the CANBUS communication protocol to achieve this. Our reusable communications module will greatly reduce the complexity, and increase the reliability, isolation, and ease of testing of our boat’s new electrical and control systems.
Finally, our software team has been hard at work completely revamping our vessel systems. This past term has been focussed on exploration of and familiarization with these more advanced systems. Our new global pathfinding system will provide more accurate point-to-point navigation, and the new local pathfinding system will accurately model vessel dynamics and will allow safer navigation in hazardous conditions such as harbours. Our obstacle detection will feature a LIDAR – although we so far do not have a unit of our own, we have been working closely with other groups to get data so that we can develop robust capabilities for detecting and identifying multiple obstacles.
We are excited and inspired by the fast pace of development we have been able to achieve – we hope to see you at the Vancouver Boat Show, where we can tell you about this in person.
Pierre Devaux, Eric Leafquist and the Education Team at SolidWorks came and visited us this month! We were thrilled because we have used SolidWorks in so much of our project. The image that you see above was, believe it or not, made by a then-1st year student on the team who later went on to become a mechanical lead.