Communications & Media

AMC students power up for autonomous boat challenge

Budding engineers at the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College are putting classroom theory to the test as part of a hands-on challenge to design, build and program a robotic boat.

About 60 first-year maritime engineering students have spent the past semester in teams working on designing and building a model boat, with set design rules and a strict budget, which must be programmed to manoeuvre itself through a marked channel in AMC’s model test basin.

The boats have cameras and acoustic sensors attached for guidance.

The students’ work will be assessed against two key criteria: design and programming. As part of the design component, they must design and build the boat to house the sensors, electronics, motors and payload (a can of soft drink). For the programming component, the students must program the sensors and electronics to power and manoeuvre the boat.

The challenge is a joint project for two first-year engineering subjects: Design and Communication and Programming and Problem Solving.

AMC lecturer Thomas Mitchell Ferguson said the challenge provided an opportunity to develop the students’ computer design and programming skills, as well as honing their practical skills during the hands-on building and testing phase.

“This project introduces first-year students to real-life engineering challenges in an area related to cutting-edge maritime technology into autonomous vessels,” he said.

“It allows them to build not only their technical knowledge and skills but also their ability to communicate and collaborate as part of a team working towards a common goal.”

Published on: 04 Jun 2018 9:54am