Isn’t building a boat that drives itself for no reason a waste of money?
Yes, and it’s totally worth it.
How will you survive on the boat?
Ill be perfectly surviving at home since the boat will not have a human being captaining the ship, everything will be controlled by a little computer system.
LOCARB sounds lame, why didnt you name it CarbymcCarbface?
How much will LOCARB cost to build?
By my estimates, LOCARB will cost ~$1,500 USD
How come you didn’t just use the Arduino to do everything from navigation and sensor reading, to motor speed control?
Arduinos although limited in memory and speed, perform routine tasks very well. However, I felt that delegating navigation workload to a dedicated autopilot would free up much of the processing power and allow it to handle other critical tasks with less room for errors (such as motor speed control and sat modem communications). My main concern is that the Arduino would lock up and require a restart many times during the voyage. Having to constantly reboot a computer that handles your navigation and communications to fix issues isn’t ideal.
What happens if LOCARB stops sending tracking data?
In the event LOCARB stops sending tracking data, it will mean several things: The sat modem does not have a clear view of the sky (the boat has capsized), the power supply has drained completely, the electronics have failed or locked up, i’ve run out of Iridium SBD credits, or the vessel has sunk.
In the event of a capsize or the Arduino/modem has failed in whatever way, I will have a backup SPOT TRACE GPS device which should still send GPS tracking coordinates to allow for a recovery, or to just track the boat while it drifts.
Where do you want to go with LOCARB?
Once I get everything tested for water hardiness, power usage/generation, and bi-directional communication (in my backyard using a big tub of water), my first test will be to boat around Lake Siskiyou for a day or two to see how things work in a controlled environment. After this test, ill set LOCARB to boat to Hawaii. If successful, I may consider the Microtransat challenge or send the boat to visit my sister in Australia.
Do you think LOCARB will make it to Hawaii?
At the moment, I have very low confidence in my autonomous ship building capabilities. My main concern is the reliability of the RC parts being used. Is an RC motor meant to run continuously for over 3 days let alone 40!? I don’t think the manufacturer imagined prolonged running operation in the environment which it will be exposed to, and to that degree. Because of this, I hope to make the motor pod compartment user accessible which allows replacement of both the battery and motor.
What do your friends and family think about this project?
They think its pretty much an exercise in futility, but they’re happy for me :/
What is the hardest part about designing LOCARB?
I think the most difficult issue facing me right now is getting the code to work exactly as I want it to. Because of the breadth of expertise needed in being able to send and receive data to LOCARB and have it processed and displayed in a user friendly way, I am a little intimidated.
Are you going to put a compartment for cargo on it?
No, if I’ve read everything correctly about the Jones act of 1920, its apparently illegal.
What does your wife do when you talk about LOCARB?
Have you ever seen someones eyes gloss over when they don’t understand you’re talking about? Yea….that.
Do you take sponsors?
Sure, let me know if you are interested and i’m sure we can work something out.