Friday, August 23, 2013

SCOUT - Third Time Lucky?

Earlier in the summer I wrote some posts about SCOUT: The Autonomous Transatlantic Boat, an unmanned robot boat which has been built by a group of local young men.

Their first attempt to cross the Atlantic failed because the weather conditions offshore wore worse than expected and Scout wasn’t able to collect enough power during the day to meet its power budget. Eventually they went out and recovered the boat, before it could be washed into the island of Nomans Land

On the second attempt the boat was launched from a different site at a different time and when weather conditions were more suitable in order to give the boat the best chance to clear all the islands near the coast before it went into "drift" mode. It did get further this time but had to be retrieved again when the tracking showed that it seemed to have lost its way. It turned out that the control board for the rudder servo motor wasn't capable of handling the sustained loads that Scout's rudder put on it.



The third launch will be at midnight, tonight (Friday). Here is an email the team sent out yesterday...


Hello Scout supporters-  
It's that time again! After mending the rudder system, polishing up some of the programming, charging the batteries, and resetting the tracking page, (www.gotransat.com/tracking) Scout is ready to go!  
For those of you whom have lost track, this will be Scout's third launch (the tracking pages of the previous launches are www.gotransat.com/firstlaunch and www.gotransat.com/secondlaunch)  
We have also made a number of neat improvements on our tracking page and have a few more coming! Look for enhanced smartphone support, expanded data viewing capabilities, and a neat little tool that lets you find the distance between any number of points on the tracking map. We have also added average speed and GPS course to the dataset that Scout sends to us; these metrics will be useful in helping us understand what Scout is experiencing during the attempt. The tracking page will receive a new data packet from Scout every 20 minutes.  
We plan on doing our last pre-launch test tomorrow morning, and have scheduled the launch for midnight this Friday (so 11:59 pm Friday night) launching off of Sakonnet Point in Tiverton, RI. We hope you can make it to the launch, it should be a great time!  
 The Scout crew

So, will I see you on the beach at midnight?


11 comments:

Sam Chapin said...

I hope they put in a balanced rudder.

Tillerman said...

What's a balanced rudder?

Mojo said...

Isn't that past your bed time?

Tillerman said...

Yes. I am sending my assistant Ruff Topsail

Pandabonium said...

Looks like one cockroach. Hit it with a rubber slipper!

Tillerman said...

Seems like the launch went OK and at sunrise Scout has traveled about 6 miles in the right direction. Tracking site is http://www.gotransat.com/tracking/

Sam Chapin said...

Balanced rudder is part of the rudder blade in front of the vertical pivot rod. Depending on how much area (maybe 30^) is in front of the pivot it takes off a lot of the weather helm when a boat is heeled. A J30 will try and pull your arm off and a J33 is one of the sweetest boats I every sailed up wind.

Luke said...

Certainly more exciting than the AC fiasco.

Tillerman said...

I don't think SCOUT heels much.

Sam Chapin said...

They said that the mechanism could not handle the rudder loads. Put more area forward and the loads go toward zero.

Semi-informed Voter said...

Scout lost? Haven't seen an position reading update for over a day.

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