Cellular Telemetry a Success!
Meet Data Xplorer, our newest unpersonned surface vessel. Data Xplorer is designed to be a portable capable vessel, easily carried by two people, and small enough to fit in the back of a hatchback. While it isn’t as fast, and has a smaller payload than Solar Xplorer, its portability makes it an ideal vessel for trialling and fine-tuning our electronics systems. In takes us ten minutes to zip out to the lake from our facility and have it in the water.
Last week we tested the boat in Thetis Lake with all our latest electronics developments, and were pleased that everything worked exactly as it should. The navigation lights come on automatically in low light situations, the AIS transceiver allows detection of commercial ships, and the autonomous navigation system guides the boat and can perform specific tasks or loitering at designated waypoints.
What we are most excited about, however, is our cellular telemetry system. Using the 3G/4G network the boat can give a live feed of 360 degree video and two way audio (using a speaker and microphone). A remote operator can pilot the boat manually with situational awareness almost identical to being in the boat. A joystick (also running through the cell network) directs the vessel, and the operator can hail other boats or people along the shore. As far as we know, we are the only autonomous boat company with cellular telemetry, meaning a remote operator can control the boats anywhere in the world where there is 3G/4G coverage. Someone in San Diego, can essentially teleport themselves into Hong Kong Harbour and see their surroundings through our live video feed, allowing them to pilot the boat through the congested waterways. When the boat exits cellular coverage, it slips seamlessly into satellite telemetry.
While we are particularly excited about the success of our electronics trials, we are also very pleased with the performance of the actual boat, Data Xplorer. The vessel will be further tested and refined, including the addition of solar panels, and we will be adding this model to our fleet of vessels available. The next steps in our development are construction of production molds for the final version of ours composite hulls, and our collision avoidance systems. We have exciting news in both these realms that we will be announcing over the next few weeks.
Click on the video below to watch Data Xplorer in water trials.