The software team is responsible for guidance, navigation and control of the AUV. Navigation is carried out using visual feedback and Image Processing(IP) to tackle problems like image distortion underwater and identify objects underwater based on color and contour (shape detection). An autonomous vehicle must be capable of sequencing and scheduling of tasks and thus our software team has a Mission Planning module which prioritizes tasks. Our AUV uses multiple sensors to interact with the surroundings and we need to calibrate the sensors, validate our codes and filter sensor data- we do simulation on Gazebo and ROS to save time and improve quickly.
The electronic systems in the vehicle act as platform for software systems to be executed. The processing platforms are chosen based on the basic needs of vision processing, controls and power management. Electronic Speed Control (ESC) boards are used to drive all the thrusters which will be connected with motherboard; a Single Board Computer (SBC) is being used as motherboard of the system along with power management board. The hardware architecture is designed with emphasis on modularity and scalability in the future.
Mechanical systems act as a basic framework of bot which involves controlling the factors affecting the degrees of freedom of bot. The chassis is designed keeping in mind the relationships between geometry and relative motion of the parts of the machine. Materials are chosen on the basic needs of weight distribution, buoyancy, and durability. Manufacturing techniques involve 3D printing, lathe machining, CNC Milling, laser cutting and waterjet cutting. Model has been developed on Solidworks and extensively tested on ANSYS .
Our primary goal is to bring in funds. The funds that are brought in are needed for two of the most important activities of our team - primarily, for building the AUV i.e. utilized in buying equipments and providing training resources to the team members. Once this aspect has been taken care of we start fueling our reserves so that we have enough cash for participating in various international competitions- this cost includes travel, accommodation and registration fees of the team members.
Some of the challenges we grapple with are answering questions like- Where should we get the money from? How do we keep a tab on the tech-team for their expenses? How much should be raised for long term plans? How can we build a platform so that there is effective communication between the team and our sponsors?
But alongside that, we also work to make sure that the team functions smoothly and the tech- junkies don’t burn out! We are the team’s main source of communication with the outside world.