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The home of Olin's multi-year trans-Atlantic sailboat endeavor.
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The First Autonomous Transatlantic Sailboat

To this day, no team has successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean in an unmanned, autonomous sailboat. Teams such as UBC's Transatlantic Challenge team and SCOUT Transatlantic have made it close. Offshore Sensing AS accomplished it with an unmanned, remotely guided vessel. But the coast of Western Europe remains elusive to the autonomous robotic seafarers. The exceedingly tumultuous conditions of the North Atlantic are proving to be a fierce opponent, requiring some of the best engineers in the world to unite in order to be conquered.

Setting up a Dev Environment

In order to get a new development machine up and running, simply do the following on a computer running Ubuntu 16.04:

  1. Open a terminal and run mkdir -p ~/catkin_ws/src && cd ~/catkin_ws/src
  2. Clone the repo by running git clone
  3. Run cd trans-atlantic-sailboat && ./setup to run the setup script
  4. Run the command it says to run afterwards

The setup script will walk you through installing ROS and setting it up with Python in a way that will not conflict with other Python configurations (e.g. Anaconda). It will also give you the option to install the PyCharm integrated development environment, which is great for debugging, and configure it for use with ROS.

Just enter your password when it asks for it and press Enter when it asks for the PyCharm installation path (this will accept the default).

Current State

Status updates can be found on our Medium blog.

Architecture Overview

OARS architecture overview

Our boat is controlled by a Raspberry Pi running ROS Kinetic. We actuate the sails and rudder using Robotis Dynamixel servos (MX-64s and an AX-12, respectively). We also use an Airmar 200WX ultrasonic weather station for wind speed and direction, heading, and position.

About OARS

OARS logo

Olin Aquatic Robotic Systems (OARS) is a build team at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. We have been working on this project since September 2017.

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