New technologies have brought the cost of surveying and monitoring large bodies of water down quite considerably - though vehicles capable of operating autonomously for extended periods of time, whilst providing real-time data, are still beyond the costs of most people.
We are not yet at the stage where a person, organisation or region can affordably purchase, launch and run a USV for their own purposes.
We believe that we can create a 100% open hardware / source USV that is able to be launched easily in remote locations and be fully able to autonomously monitor, and provide real time data on, more remote areas of water for an extended period of time using onboard power and renewable energy sources.
All of the hardware and technology used in OSUSV is available off the shelf. Combining both enthusiast level electronics and controllers with established maritime devices and sensors.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence, with regular software updates, will be used to improve the capabilities of OSUSV over time.
The OSUSV can be equipped with a wide range of sensors - our initial prototype will have:
- Topside video cameras for real time viewing as well as near object detection and avoidance - including an IR camera and possibly FLIR.
- GPS for positioning and navigation
- AIS for awareness of other, larger, vessels nearby and collision avoidance
- Sonar for depth and underwater surface mapping
- Temperature sensor for water temperature recording
- Salinity sensor, coupled with the temperature measurement, to calculate water density
- Underwater cameras for underwater photogrammetry and 3D modelling, and/or image processing via an AI model for real time object / species detection and recording e.g. Lionfish / coral species identification.
- WiFi connection for nearby operation (within range of shore or a boat)
- Cellular connection for more remote operation (within cellular range)
- LoRa (long range radio) connection for further afield data reporting - video will not be available if reliant on this method alone
- Satellite up-link connection for over horizon autonomous operations.
Our aim is to develop an affordable and modular USV that is capable of monitoring the ocean, coast line, lakes and other waterways for extended periods of time whilst providing real time data to the operator, and others, at their desks.
We want people to follow our progress with the build, initial testing and deployment of the OSUSV and be encouraged that they can also embark on this build.
We feel that someone with moderate DIY and electronics skills will be able to source, build, maintain and run a vessel for themselves, their organisation or their community and maybe even support others, with less experience, who wish to learn.
Once we reach the initial testing phase of the project we'll be looking for individuals or groups / organisations who feel they have a requirement for the OSUSV to take part in that testing.
Organisations/Individuals that build their own OSUSV will be encouraged to contribute their knowledge and any improvements back into the project to help improve it for the whole community.