Nautilus - Open Source ROV

A cubic ROV built to sense its surroundings

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In the past few decades humans have made some incredible progress in the realm of space. However, with so much going on outside of our planet it’s easy to forget how spectacular the environment can be inside of the pale blue dot. In fact, our planet’s oceans and other bodies of water still remain vastly unexplored, and if anyone is going to conquer the seas it’s going to be anopen source community! So, I’ve started to put together “Nautilus,” an open source Remotely operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) built to explore and survey underwater environments. Nautilus is cubic in shape, and uses hydrojets/reaction wheel for motion, is equipped with various sensors, and gets its brainpower from the Raspberry Pi.Enjoy.

Subsystems/Core Features

  1. Structure
    1. Shell- Each of face of Nautilus’ shell will be constructed individually from sheet metal or will be high quality 3D printed. This is cubic in shape.
    2. Hatch- One face of the ROV, the “hatch,” will open to allow easy interior access.
    3. Shelves-All inner components will be placed on a shelf system which will allow for easier and quicker access.
    4. Waterproof- Of course the entire shell will be watertight, including the closed hatch.
  2. Power
    1. Battery- Lithium polymer batteries will power the system.
  3. Electronics
    1. Raspberry Pi- A Raspberry Pi will act as the brains of the entire ROV
    2. LEDs- Super bright LEDs will illuminate dark underwater environments.
  4. Motion
    1. Motor/Hydrojet- A set of motors will be used to power high pressure pumps which will allow for upward and forward motion. This starts with the idea of a centrifugal pump. A centrifugal pump uses an impeller to create a vacuum within it's housing, allowing for a fluid of some type to be drawn into the pump. As the fluid hit s the impeller it is shot radially outwards to the housing and is spun around rapidly. The impeller then pushes the fluid up through another opening; here is where the water jet propulsion comes into play.
    2. Reaction Wheel- In order to turn the forward motion into leftward or rightward motion, a reaction wheel will be used to to rotate the craft along the z axis. A reaction wheel basically creates an internal torque, and in order to compensate (conservation of angular momentum) the entire ROV reacts with a torque in the opposite direction.
  5. Sensors
    1. Sonar- Terrain mapping
    2. Camera- TImelapses and photos

Everything is subject to change based on time, funding, my skills, and available space.

  • Update

    Halek07/11/2014 at 20:39 0 comments

    Hello Everyone, 

    I have currently run into some road bumps and will have to postpone the project, but I will be back on it ASAP. Thanks

  • Updated Centrifugal Pump Design

    Halek06/25/2014 at 03:22 0 comments

    This is the most recent update on the pump design.

    This is a simple model of the motor that will power the centrifugal pump.

    Housing for the motor, with some openings for cooling.

    This little disk separates the motor from the impeller which will be filled with water when the pump activates and a vacuum is formed.

    The outer most housing for the pump. The two openings will hold standard pneumatic fittings that will hold some tubing to move water through the pump. This water is the jet that will propel the craft.

    A wire frame view of the whole setup. 

    These model will be available as soon as they are finalized and the physical models are tested.

  • Early designs for centrifugal pumps

    Halek06/20/2014 at 14:27 0 comments

    Ideally the centrifugal pumps will move water at a high enough velocity and force to act as a hydrojet, giving the ROV its motion. A centrifugal pump is quite a simple mechanism. Using an impeller, a vaccum is created so fluid can be drawn into the pump, when the fluid hits the impeller it is pushed out radially. as the impeller spins the water is released through another opening, and depending on the design of the case, the exit velocity can be manipulated. Very early stage designs: 

    Impeller design found on

    I'm not too good with blender, so cut me some slack! 

View all 3 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Mike Szczys wrote 07/22/2014 at 18:50 point
Halek, you sould put a few pictures into the album on the sidebar. This way when your project is shown on the entries page or in the voting interface there will be an image with it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

nrx wrote 07/08/2014 at 05:23 point
Hey, I like to see this. how is this related to the openrov project. And whats your plan to do with?
keep on doing.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Adam Fabio wrote 06/29/2014 at 03:24 point
We've got robots on land, in the air, and now under the water - thanks for entering The Hackaday Prize, Halek! Having worked on an ROV years back, I found out the hard way that you have to be very careful in sealing equipment. Water is insidious, and when under pressure, will find ways you never imagined into places you never expected it to be.
Keep working, and keep updating us as your design progresses!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Halek wrote 06/29/2014 at 17:03 point
Thanks for the advice!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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