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Technical Information

Learn more about the technical aspects of our boat!

Software Subteam Overview

The software team on AutoBoat is responsible for researching, developing, and testing all computer programs which enable the boat to operate autonomously. Our team is made up of several main projects each with a different focus: Perception, Artificial Intelligence, Controls & Microcontroller Design, ROS & Simulations, and Ground Station. You can think of the first three teams as answering the following questions: 

  • Perception: What do we see? Where are we? 

  • AI: Based on what we see, where do we go? How should we move? 

  • Controls: Based on how we want to move, how do we control our motors to achieve that movement? 


ROS is the glue that holds everything together: it provides concurrency in the “eyes” (perception), “brains” (AI), and “muscles” (controls) of the boat and allows them to communicate with each other. Simulations enable us to test our code and analyze the boat’s behavior when not on the water. Similarly, the Ground Station allows members to control, communicate with, and analyze the boat while it is on the water. 

Working on the Software subteam gives students the opportunity to get hands-on experience with complex engineering problems. Members are pushed to gain new technical skills, take initiative, and learn to collaborate effectively. These skills enable our members to grow as engineers and individuals, ultimately excelling in their careers.

Hardware Subteam Overview

The hardware team is responsible for the design, manufacturing, integration, and testing of all the physical components of the boat. BD&M (Boat Design & Manufacturing) tackles all the major hydrodynamic, structural, and waterproofing systems that make up our boat. R&A (Robotics & Actuation) encompasses all the mechanical systems that allow the boat to interact with the environment. Finally, E-Systems connects everything together, handling power distribution, signal communication between components, and sensor integration, forming the vital bridge between the hardware and software systems.

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