Course Overview

Welcome to ECE 445! If you've looked at the course Calendar, you've probably already noticed that this class is quite different from most other classes in the department. The class only meets as a whole for the first few weeks of the semester. During these lectures you will meet the Course Staff, learn about specific assignments, requirements, and resources for the course, and have a chance to meet other students to share ideas and form teams. These are some of the most important weeks for the class since the decisions you make during this time will determine what you'll get out of this class and, in many ways, how much you'll enjoy it.

Outside of lecture, you are expected to be working on your own to develop ideas and form teams. You are also expected to actively participate on the Piazza discussion board to exchange ideas, receive feedback from course staff, and eventually get your project idea approved. Once your team has a project approved, you will be assigned a TA, with whom you will have weekly meetings. Think of your TA as a project manager. Keep in mind that they are not there to do the work for you. Rather, they are there to keep you on track, point you towards resources (both within and outside of the department), and evaluate the result of your efforts.

Expectations and Requirements

We have high expectations for students participating in ECE 445. You are soon to be alumni of one of the top ECE departments of the world. Our alumni hold themselves to high technical and professional standards of conduct. In general, projects are expected to be safe, ethical, and have a level of design complexity commensurate with the rigor of the ECE Illinois curriculum. Requirements for specific assignments due throughout the semester can be found by looking through the Grading Scheme for the course. Please read through this documentation well before each assignment is due. Specific due dates can be found on the course Calendar.

Below are a few words of wisdom to keep in mind throughout the semester to increase your enjoyment and success in the course:

Autonomous Sailboat

Riley Baker, Arthur Liang, Lorenzo Rodriguez Perez

Autonomous Sailboat

Featured Project

# Autonomous Sailboat

Team Members:

- Riley Baker (rileymb3)

- Lorenzo Pérez (lr12)

- Arthur Liang (chianl2)

# Problem

WRSC (World Robotic Sailing Championship) is an autonomous sailing competition that aims at stimulating the development of autonomous marine robotics. In order to make autonomous sailing more accessible, some scholars have created a generic educational design. However, these models utilize expensive and scarce autopilot systems such as the Pixhawk Flight controller.

# Solution

The goal of this project is to make an affordable, user- friendly RC sailboat that can be used as a means of learning autonomous sailing on a smaller scale. The Autonomous Sailboat will have dual mode capability, allowing the operator to switch from manual to autonomous mode where the boat will maintain its current compass heading. The boat will transmit its sensor data back to base where the operator can use it to better the autonomous mode capability and keep track of the boat’s position in the water. Amateur sailors will benefit from the “return to base” functionality provided by the autonomous system.

# Solution Components

## On-board

### Sensors

Pixhawk - Connect GPS and compass sensors to microcontroller that allows for a stable state system within the autonomous mode. A shaft decoder that serves as a wind vane sensor that we plan to attach to the head of the mast to detect wind direction and speed. A compass/accelerometer sensor and GPS to detect the position of the boat and direction of travel.

### Actuators

2 servos - one winch servo that controls the orientation of the mainsail and one that controls that orientation of the rudder

### Communication devices

5 channel 2.4 GHz receiver - A receiver that will be used to select autonomous or manual mode and will trigger orders when in manual mode.

5 channel 2.4 GHz transmitter - A transmitter that will have the ability to switch between autonomous and manual mode. It will also transfer servos movements when in manual mode.

### Power

LiPo battery

## Ground control

Microcontroller - A microcontroller that records sensor output and servo settings for radio control and autonomous modes. Software on microcontroller processes the sensor input and determines the optimum rudder and sail winch servo settings needed to maintain a prescribed course for the given wind direction.

# Criterion For Success

1. Implement dual mode capability

2. Boat can maintain a given compass heading after being switched to autonomous mode and incorporates a “return to base” feature that returns the sailboat back to its starting position

3. Boat can record and transmit servo, sensor, and position data back to base

Project Videos