Software Update

A project log for Ladon Project

A robot to sail around the world alone

Pierce NicholsPierce Nichols 01/25/2017 at 16:310 Comments

I just realized we haven't posted an update in a while, but I promise we aren't dead -- we've been working on software. Check out the network graph on our github (all the recent action is on the new-hardware branch):

We had a solid in-water test in October that verified the new electronics work well and that we can drive the boat around by remote control and that it will steer to a course on its own.

Most of the recent action has been filling out the various boat states and writing unit tests for everything. Just writing the tests has kicked up lots of bugs that have been duly fixed and make me far more confident of our code than I was before.

Along with the other changes, we've just acquired a Beaglebone Green Wireless as our latest brain. This has built-in wireless (replacing the HDMI) and a built-in four port USB hub (replacing the Ethernet). Since we're not currently using either of the deleted peripherals, this is nothing but win. We now have an on-board port free to plug in the AIS and three spare ports for other instrument or harddrives. On the around the world boat, we're planning to plug in three external harddrives and arrange them in a RAID array for storing mission logs and photos.

However, I discovered a little wrinkle. The BBGW uses the eMMC pins for the wifi module. This is a problem because in a bout of thick-headedness I double-booked those pins to drive the throttle relays. That means that I can't use it on this hardware revision. Another kick in the ass to get the next revision going.

The software to the point where we are ready to do some waypoint navigation testing. The gating item right now is getting a day that works for the whole team and when we have access to a powered chase boat. Paddling along in a kayak isn't going to cut it for the waypoint following, especially in the middle of winter. Falling into Elliot Bay would be a very, very bad thing at this time of year. The second weekend in February is looking good.