Station-keeping Electronic Boat Anchoring System

Team 23

The Station-keeping Electronic Boat Anchoring System is a system designed to remove the dependency of personal watercraft on a physical anchor. A control system will read sensor data for the forces acting on the boat and respond accordingly to maintain the boat at a particular position and heading with zero velocity or acceleration. These forces include wind and current, and the response will be driven by the boat’s standard motor. On a full scale model, the boat’s position, velocity, and acceleration would be monitored through the use of a GPS sensor. For scale model testing in this project, this system will be simulated using a camera vision system.

The scope of this project is to design a scale model that can respond to these forces in a way consistent with how the full scale boat would. This scale model will prove the validity of the developed control system under a variety of input conditions. To develop the control system, the sensors will first be implemented on a small land-based vehicle. This will enable the team to test the vision system under a controlled environment and develop the necessary responses to a change in those vision readings. The team plans to test this system on a small vehicle with omnidirectional wheels, which will respond to applied forces most similarly to an aquatic vehicle since it can be moved in all directions. Once this system is tested, the team will implement the sensor system on the boat scale model to confirm response to the actual forces involved (wind and current) and develop the required control for a new thruster configuration (a motor mounted to the back of the boat).

The completion of this project will produce a scale model boat system that can maintain its position without the use of a physical anchor. The principles proven through this model will be shown to apply to a full scale model under a certain subset of weather conditions.

This project is part of the Senior Design capstone class at Calvin College.