Roboboat 2022

Competition strategy and team progress

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Competition Strategy

Team Focus

For this competition season, our team decided to reuse the Flying Sloth hull from our 2017 competition. This allowed for greater focus on testing and on learning skills that the team lost due to the graduation of more experienced members and the lack of in-person opportunities the last 2 years due to covid.

Thrust-to-Weight Ratio

The usage of foam hulls instead of carbon fiber hulls means that the boat is heavier. To account for this, more thrusters are used, and we decided on using a six-thruster setup.

Prioritization of Challenges

High Priority Challenges

Avoid The Crowds

Description: The ASV passes through between multiple sets of gates (pairs of red and green buoys) and avoids intermittent yellow buoys

Analysis: The challenge requires minimal external hardware or software development and mainly just involves careful navigational operability and fine motor control. This challenge could be tested and fine-tuned really early in the development process.

Goal: 9 out of 10 successful runs

Navigation Channel

Description: This challenge is mandatory before attempting other tasks. The ASV needs to pass through two sets of gates (a pair of red and green buoys) and starts autonomous navigation at a minimum of 6 ft before the set of gates.

Analysis: As it is mandatory, this challenge is of high importance. In 2019, the boat could only successfully pass the navigation channel once out of four qualification runs as a result of a major electrical failure onboard.

Goal: 14 out of 15 successful runs

Snack Run

Description: The ASV enters the gate buoys, maneuvers around the mark buoy, and exits thought the same gate buoys, as quickly as possible. The timer starts when the bow (front) crosses the gate buoys and stops when the stern (back) crosses the gate buoys.

Analysis: Based on the 2019 score-sheet, a time between 25-45s is needed to remain competitive in the Snack Run challenge, with the fastest 2019 run coming in at 27 seconds.

Goal: 9 out of 10 successful runs + baseline of 35 seconds, goal of 26 seconds

Medium Priority Challenges

Find a Seat at the Show

Description: Before the time slot starts, teams are given a “bay of the day” assignment to dock in. The ASV detects and enters the docking bay corresponding the shape/color of the day.

Analysis: This challenge is a bit more involved in terms of CV and color/shape recognition but does not require external hardware development

Goal: 9 out of 10 successful runs

Low Priority Challenges

Skeeball Game

Description: The ASV detects the shooting gate (purple frame), then lines up and shoot three balls. More points are awarded if the ball sunk into the smaller hole at the back, and some points are awarded for just making the ball go on the deck.

Analysis: As both the Water Blast and Skeeball are new challenges, UM::Autonomy chose to only focus on completing the Water Blast challenge this year, though work was done throughout the year to complete the Skeeball task in the future.

Goal: N/A

Water Blast

Description: The ASV detects the target face (blue/white striped) and shoots enough water through the target to raise the ball above the green line in the pipe

Analysis: This is the first season with this challenge and hardware and software development of external mechanisms pushed back actual testing. Therefore, we knew that immediate mastery of this task would be difficult and time consuming, and should only be attempted after other challenges.

Goal: 3 out of 5 successful runs