Monterey Mission Simulation

A project log for SolarSurfer

A robotic solar-powered surfboard that will travel from LA to Hawaii! It's Arduino-powered, satellite connected, and collects ocean data.

josh-villbrandtJosh Villbrandt 10/11/2014 at 06:330 Comments

We've created a mission simulator to better estimate SolarSurfer performance on the way to Monterey. We are using data from our last test in Marina del Rey to inform the simulation. The SolarSurfer's peak performance thus far has been 0.8 m/s with the solar panel providing 76W. Our avionics consume 4W, so 36W was going to each thruster at that point. The simulation also accounts for a 0.05 m/s ocean current going in a Southwest direction.

With all of these assumptions, our simulator says that the SolarSurfer will take 30 days to get to Monterey Bay. We feel that this is probably pretty accurate and we will be update the simulation as we get better performance data during the first few days of the trip. Check out the simulation path (in red) compared to our intended path (in black.) The graph below also shows the thruster power consumption, absolute velocity, and total distance traveled for the first five days.

In addition to this nominal scenario, we performed sensitivity analysis on a few key variables. Below are graphs showing the number of days required to reach Monterey Bay with varying thruster power settings and with varying the assumed ocean current velocity. On the thruster power graph, it is worth noting that while the thrusters are capable of utilizing 280W together, our current solar panel has only been providing 76W at our current location at this time of year.

As always, our code is available on github. We are excited to launch and even more excited to share the adventure with you. We'll be releasing our public page with live data tracking Tuesday morning a few hours before we launch the SolarSurfer. As always, stay tuned.