I am currently considering joining the MicroTransat challenge and develop an autonomous boat able to survive the harsh Ocean environment.
However, as for security and to ensure the boat doesn't sink due to collisions, I am looking for possible ways to implement a basic obstacle avoidance system.
The prototype will harvest power from solar panels (and maybe a Stirling engine) and will run a Raspberry Pi as route planner.
Up to now I have come up with the following:
- AIS receiver: can be useful to track ships above 300t and simple receivers don't use too much power;
- Hydrophones array: may sense boat engines and the sound origin, very unreliable as a system;
- Lidar/ultrasonic rangefinder: not suitable for marine environment;
- Computer vision: difficult to implement but highly reliable, I guess sea waves will be a issue.
Ideally, the boat should keep away from other boats, floating objects and rocks, yet just ship avoidance would be very helpful.
Which one(s) do you believe can be included to offer a basic obstacle avoidance ability?