Congratulations to UF’s NaviGator AMS team, winner of the 2016 Maritime RobotX Challenge ( in Hawaii. See and for more info.

UF’s Team NaviGator AMS, winner of the 2016 Maritime RobotX Challenge in Oahu, Hawaii

Team 4118 Roaring Riptide Robotics (FIRST)

We have several team members who are advisers for a local high school FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics team.  Team 4118 (P. K. Yonge High School), the Roaring Riptides, competed for their 3rd year today.  Emphasis was placed on getting the robot up and running as quickly as possible.  A quicker built platform meant more time for testing and driver training.  Their hard work paid off with P. K. Yonge coming in at 11th place out of 62 teams.    
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Quadcopter Testing

We’re getting closer to intelligent path planning.  Today we took out a ground vehicle, a quadcopter, and a hexcopter.  The ground vehicle performed flawlessly autonomously driving in a search pattern.  The quad started out fine until our third run.  We were having the quad autonomously perform search patterns until it crashed during landing.  We’re still not sure what caused the crash.  After the crash, we brought the hex and performed a successful search pattern using an Odroid U3
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Foam cutting is complete!

The first step of making our molds is complete.  We picked up our foam molds and drove them back to Gainesville using our trailer.  This weekend we’ll prepare them before laying fiberglass for the plug.  Vectorworks  Marine was kind enough to provide mill time to cut out our foam models.  It’s really neat to see a CAD model turn into something that is tangible.  Below are pictures of our foam and one of the giant mills that Vectorworks Marine uses to cut foam.        
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Getting Schooled by the Pros

Today we drove down to southern Florida to learn about the process of creating a boat using fiberglass.  The company we visited was generous enough to give us a tour of the facilities to see the process of making commercial boats.  They answered our questions and we left with a much better idea of how the process of creating a boat worked.  We’ll apply these lessons learned to our boat when we start laying glass next week.                    
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Foam cutting has begun

Vectorworks Marine has started cutting out or foam plugs!  We expect the finished plugs in Gainesville in a few weeks.
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Bearing Testing

The bearings we are using for our testing platform have been failing.  The two bearing on the flywheel and the two bearings on the load bearing idler have broken.  We looked at several failed bearings under the microscope and determined that the failure was due to loading vice corrosion.  Ceramic bearings are looking more promising because they have a greater dynamic load maximum.  Worst case, we will have move to a larger bearing size.
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Second loaded motor test

We created a shroud to block the water spray but it proved not effective.  The water still sprayed everywhere at high speeds (20% power).  We’ll have to make another shroud to cover more of the band.  What we did learn was that the motor is POWERFULL!  We only let it draw eight amps (50 amps at 100%), but even with a crummy prop, we were able to move a lot of water.  When the new shroud is finished we will really test the motor!!!          
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HUGO has landed!

Thanks to Sean and the generous folks at AEROTESTRA, we’ve been able to acquire a water resistant quadcopter!  Besides being water resistant, the quad also can carry multiple batteries, has a 2 axis water resistant camera gimbal (the gimbal floats on rubber airbags), a snorkel, and even an external cable for connecting any additional accessories we deem necessary.  The quad will act as an extension to our boat’s sensor suite (LIDAR, cameras, and possibly LEDDAR). We intend on using t
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First loaded motor test with timing belt

After finishing the aluminum parts for our rig (aluminum bearings vice ABS, see previous post), we ran the motor assembly for several hours.  The only load on the system was the prop moving air.  After several  hours of running (25-50%) we inspected the setup.  Everything looked good and the motor was only slightly warm.  Next we ran the motor at 100% for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes we inspected the band.  The only sign of wear was a single fiber strand on the belt that had come loose.  We
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