The design and implementation of a prototype surf-zone robot for waterborne operations
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Three dimensional (3D) simulation, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling are used to design and implement a waterborne surf-zone robot prototype. This robot is an autonomous platform meant to be a test-bed for sensors and algorithms for future developments; a key enabler is its modular design. It combines the capabilities of an untethered Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), being able to transition between the maritime and ground environments. Components for the robot are modeled using Solidworks and later 3D printed or CNC milled in aluminum. A five-spoke Wheg variant is used for mobility on land, and three thrusters in a typical ROV configuration (one vertical, two lateral) provide water mobility. Channels to direct water flow around the waterproof cylinder are implemented as a novel way to avoid a through hole for the vertical thruster. Modular design enables platform design modifications and sensors to be changed or added for different missions. All sensible actuators, sensors, cabling and parts are waterproofed to withstand the difficult conditions of the surf zone.
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