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Hobby drone ship?
Old 03-10-2016, 10:24 AM   #1
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Hobby drone ship?

I had this idea a few years ago but shelved it while we were building our RV.

The plan was to build a small autonomous ship (nowadays I would call it a drone ship) with sat phone communications, gps, camera and send it out on long journeys. I originally was thinking a sailboat design but now I maybe would go solar/electric propulsion.

I wanted to keep it really small so it was not a significant navigation hazard but that was one of the main reasons (other than cost of sat phone) why I did not pursue this. If you could make it under a meter long and perhaps displace only 20 pounds or so, it likely would not damage even a small boat that hit it (I would have to research this). It still might not be legal under US or international law.

But the dream would be sitting in your house in Seattle and directing your little boat to chug along on the outside of Vancouver Island, or sending it up through the Bering strait.

More ambitious would be a drone aircraft carrier, carrying a couple of flying drones which would land and recharge on the ship.

Anyway, tossing this out there for any ER.org millionaire engineers with nothing to do and living in a country where trivial things like laws don't matter as much.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:18 AM   #2
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It's still a hazard when a small boat runs into it.

Plus, some enterprising individuals will simply find it, and strip it for parts like the hitch-hiking robot.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:31 AM   #3
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Your idea is a little too advanced for me to tackle. But I'm going to build an Arduino powered vessel this summer. New Arduino Bluetooth RC Boat
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:45 AM   #4
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Probably wise to build in a sea lion detector, so the thing doesn't get it's A$$ kicked in a distant bad neighborhood.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:09 PM   #5
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Probably wise to build in a sea lion detector, so the thing doesn't get it's A$$ kicked in a distant bad neighborhood.

Lol. Good one.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:22 PM   #6
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I think you might be a candidate for a job at the pentagon.
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
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What would you do, though, when one day you tried to log-on and it didn't respond? The last telemetry was routine, and then silence. I've written plenty of programs where "there is no way" this can stop running without saying what went wrong. Then, alas, a log that just stops in the middle of normal activity...no errors, no stack trace, nothing.

All that being said, if there were someone in my neighborhood working on something like this, I might become an investor / partner in the venture. As Ronstar said, I'm not up to the task to build one myself. But it would be so freakin' cool! Like a Mars rover, but on the ocean. Too bad compressed air and blow tanks take so much energy to operate...you could add a sea lion detection routine and "dive, dive, dive..."
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:42 PM   #8
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Personally I always thought an autonomous submarine would be more interesting.
Finding lost treasure, chasing fish...
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:44 PM   #9
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Personally I always thought an autonomous submarine would be more interesting.
Finding lost treasure, chasing fish...
There are such things, almost. Here's an example:

Gliders/Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (IOOS)
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