March Update

Silje Greidung Head of Marketing

(Member since 2021)


This Sunday we had a Triweekly meeting. These are meetings where all of Vortex' groups present what they've done the last three weeks, and this is a great way of getting updates from the whole organization!


In the last month, Mechanical has worked long hours in the office in order to get Beluga Mk2 ready for the next pool test. This includes working on the frame, el house and actuator system. They have made a test system for the torpedo system, which has proven to be quite robust based on measurement tests on how accurate and far the torpedo can fire.

This weekend, the mechanical group disassembled Beluga Mk1 and moved components to Beluga Mk2. Beluga Mk2 was then thrown in the pool to see if it floats - which it did! Phew. Some time was also spent on CAD, deciding where the Gemini Imaging Sonar shall be placed. This sonar is quite big, so we'll see where it ends up.


Beluga has been losing some weight lately...
Christian attaching components to the plate going in the el house.

The electronics group has also worked on the el house - the entrails, that is.

The new el house, which electronics member Christian has designed in CAD and 3D printed, has a "pizza oven" design with a plate which can be drawn in and out. This makes it a lot easier to modify the connections etc. inside the el house than in the previous version.


The electronics group have also worked with the acoustics board and the PDB (Power Distribution Board).

A finished battery pack.

Unfortunately, we have encountered some

problems with those. A new version of the PDB has to be ordered, and the work with the acoustics board is continuing. The progress with the battery packs on the

other hand is great - after this weekend three battery packs are completed, and we have three more to go.




A well-deserved pizza break!

This small microcontroller processes everything related to the acoustics.

The Embedded group are getting a lot closer to determining the positions of acoustics pingers in a pool. They have translated code from Python to C++ in order to use the Teensy – the microcontroller which runs all of Embedded’s software.


Embedded group member Hannah has been writing test functions to check if the code works as expected - the Python code on the computer should give the same output as the C++ code run by the Teensy. She has also

written code to handle different scenarios which may

occur - various time differences of arrivals of acoustic signals between the hydrophones. The Teensy has crashed when the time difference is zero between all five hydrophones, but the goal is to instead send a message letting us know that the process failed, and then the program will handle the error.

Hannah writing test functions for the acoustic signals localization.

Perception has been working on detecting a gate with information processed by the camera. The camera has been well calibrated, which means that we can expect the camera to understand geometry realistically. Processing picture data is another important part to make the camera interpret the red gate. Colors in water lose contrast, and Perception uses two approaches to make the camera read the colors better, which is contrast differences (CLAHE) and insensitivity values (“RCFA”).


Kristian testing the Gemini Imaging Sonar.

Kristian and Rohit from Perception are working with the Gemini Imaging Sonar. Since the sonar will not depend on a good view in the same way a camera does, the sonar will be great in water with poor visibility. They have been modifying code from some previous Vortex members with the goal of getting some reasonable data from the sonar, but they have learned that it's hard to get anything reasonable from how it's visualized at the moment. Moving forward, they will transfer it to another format which makes it easier to work with. The ultimate goal is to use the sonar to do SLAM - Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, which lets us build a map and localize that map at the same time.


Autonomous has seemingly succeeded with localization of the AUV. Beluga has reliable position and surprisingly little drift. A problem we experienced during the pool test last weekend, was that when things are run together with the Computer Vision stack, the things that worked well before are completely unstable. More tuning will be done, as well as more testing together with the Perception group.


Marketing has had their hands full with the recruitment of

new leaders for the past two weeks – a bunch of posters have been designed and hung up on campus, stands have been arranged, and the Instagram has been active with interviews with some of the leaders from this year's team.


On top of that, new merch has been designed, and we are excited to get the new merch in hand in a few weeks!



We are all looking forward to show you Beluga Mk2 on the unveiling on April 29th!