Stochastic Estimation of the Wave Field Surrounding a Hulled Boat
My experimental project was an algorithmic optimization of an unmanned surface vehicle’s thrust and direction to increase energy efficiency per distance travelled. The idea developed because the navy was looking for SBIR proposals for increasing energy efficiency in USVs. I convinced Sheila Widnall, the former secretary of the air force and an avid sailor and wave theorist, to become my advisor on this project.
The project consisted of three large parts: The estimation of waves around a boat, an optimal path planning algorithm given the current and future state of waves, and the execution of the rudder and thrust controls needed to follow the path. I used a sensor package consisting of an IMU, an Arduino, and two XBee radios, coupled with two mathematical estimators for wave estimation and boat reaction. Airy (linear) Wave Model was used to estimate the waves. Slender Body Theory was used to determine the boat’s reaction to the waves.