Posted on Feb 6, 2014

A model boat that can sail autonomously along a course planned in advance. This explains the meaning of `Roboat` that is the short form for `robot boat`. The core is the controller M68HC908GP20 (the quad flat plastic pack version) that stores the coordinates of the waypoints to follow and according to the data received from the GPS and from the digital compass, controls the electric motor for the propeller

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and the proportional servo for the rudder. A MON08 interface provides a connection with the ICS08GP20 board, in order to control "Roboat" directly from a PC for testing purpose and when new waypoints coordinates need to be stored. A 12 Volts lead battery supplies power to the devices. The electric motor of the propeller is driven by 12 Volts directly, while the other circuits receive 5 Volts power supply through suitable regulators. The structure of "Roboat" is very simple, so that it can be easily modified and adapted, therefore it is basically made of a sheet of polystyrene foam, 4 cm thick, cut in the shape of a boat, and a thin sheet of plastic on top that actually mounts all the devices: battery, electronics, electric motor, propeller, servo and rudder. Due to the small size and to the reduced capacity of the battery, a typical journey of "Roboat" is only a few kilometers long and needs to be done on a quiet and delimited area such as a lake. It is an artificial lake, once used for landing and take-off of seaplanes. Its dimensions are roughly 2. 5 km by 100-200 m, elongate in direction North-South. Nowadays it is used mainly by oar- and sailing boats, therefore it is very quiet and safe for the purpose of the test. GPS means "Global Positioning System". It refers to a modern technology that allows to immediately obtain the coordinates of a site on the earth surface. The system is based on a network of satellites that...

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