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

Belt Testing

  We finished our first testing rig for our motor system.  The objective of the bench was to see how well the belts perform while driving a load.  We created a small fan with the same dimensions of our ideal propeller.  The fan acted as the load for the brush-less motor.  We were able to run the motor at 25% for about 20 minutes before the 3D printed shafts, pinching the bands together, failed.  We’re going to try again next week, this time with aluminum shafts.    
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Shape Detection

We’re experimenting with several methods of shape detection.  Dan found a great algorithm that seems very robust.  It looks for lines and identifies convex angles.  We’ll have to try it out the next time we’re on the water.
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Gator has landed

Dan and Jackson spent five hours on the road to visit VectorWorks Marine in Titusville.  VectorWorks is going to cut our fiberglass plug out of three large foam blocks.  They were kind enough to squeeze us into their busy schedule.  The plug is estimated to be completed in March.  After we receive the completed plug, we’ll make the two female molds followed by our first attempt of the actual hull.
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Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium

Today, over 70 high-school students from all over Florida came to visit the University.  The students were all aspiring scientists and engineers.  They were visiting UF to give presentations on science experiments they had conducted while in school.  We were invited to show off some of the projects we were working on in the lab.  We brought the sub, a hex-copter and a ground vehicle.  We did not bring the boat because we are in the process of transitioning to the new hull.  The students were ver
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LEDDAR Testing

Forrest finished programming a ROS driver for the LEDDAR sensor from LEDDAR Tech (  The LEDDAR uses IR light to measure distances within a 45 degree field of view.  The sensor was placed on a tripod and we presented several objects in front of the object.  After testing the LEDDAR indoors we moved outside to see how the sun affected the data.  We noticed that the returns carried more noise but the results were still usable.  The sensor will be a great addition to our
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New Motor Assembly

While we are waiting for our boat plug to be manufactured, we’ve shifted our efforts to designing the motor assemblies.  We’re pursuing a Kort nozzle design with a hub-less prop.  The nozzle seconds as a prop guard while minimizing drag.  Reducing the drag further, propeller actuation will be driving using bands housed inside the Kort nozzle.  Because the propellers will be driven from the circumference vice the hub, adding a hub will only increase drag.
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January 2014 Recruiting Meeting

Over 100 UF students from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, marketing, and even business school came to our 2014 recruiting meeting.  They showed interest in all four of our projects: PropaGator, SubjuGator, CongreGators, and TowBot.  We’re excited to see so many students interested in what we do in the lab and look forward to working with them.
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Recruitment Meeting

We are having a general recruitment meeting tomorrow, January 23rd, 2014.  All are welcome  come to the meeting at 7:20 PM in MAEB 211.  We are looking for engineers, computer programmers, marketing students, business students, and journalism students.  No experience required.
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Wooden Skeleton Boat

The new boat is going to be made out of fiberglass using a three step process.  The first step is to make an exact replica of the boat known as the plug.  Next, two female molds of the top and bottom half of the plug are made.  Placing the two female molds together, the final boat is made by laying fiberglass inside the molds.  After the fiberglass hardens, the mold is released and we are left with a hollow boat. We decided to use the facilities on campus to construct our plug; the first step of
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