Preparing For Production

Børge Pahlm Project manager (Member since Sept. 2019)


The first week after our triweekly cross-group meeting has passed, and everyone can work with their respective tasks knowing what the rest of the team has been working on. It's easy to lose track when there's 50 members, and all of them got a busy schedule outside of Vortex as well.

The main building on campus, also known as Hogwarts, is flushed with Ukraine's colors nowadays.


Pontoon fundamentals

The mechanical group has been preparing the ASV materials to be sent out for machining. It will ultimately end up as a catamaran, and we finally decided on a machining company. So today they had to make everything ready for them.

The plan is to "glue" our buoyancy plates together with marine epoxy which will result in blocks that will be machined into the catamaran pontoons. We have experience with this kind of epoxy and know it works really well with our cast connectors.

Mechanical group leader Truls (left) and technical lead hardware Jonas (right) splitting up the floaty plates.

Jonas and Truls is joined by mechanical member Sebastian in spreading the epoxy evenly between the plates-to-be-merged.

Then finally keeping the plates tightly conjoined with tension straps and leftover buoyancy material bits that I'm sure are over 5 years old. They might actually have been to RoboSub in 2019. Anyways, we might need to buy Jonas' parents new straps that are not full of epoxy after this operation. Excited for the results!


Battery packs

The electronics group has been putting together the very first battery pack using a spot welder. Our workshop didn't have the appropriate fuse tolerances for our first spot welder, but they borrowed a homemade one from their line association's workshop that works with a normal plug in the wall. There were some challenges and getting-used-to with this, so the testing of the packs has not yet started. These battery packs will be attached to the lid of a waterproof cylinder so that they can easily be changed out if we need to change batteries, and is the groundwork for our future standardized batteries.


Software progress

The software groups are steadily progressing with their respective tasks within computer vision, control and acoustics. I overheard a few of them hung up on only having managed to have written a few lines of code today, but of course every project has some of those days. I have more of an administrative function myself but I'm always impressed by seeing something new every week.

Further work on the gate detection is still a big priority. Comparing the results from last week it looks like an improvement. Of course, this might just be the distance to the gate as well.

Here's a confidence map added to some of our stereo camera recordings from our last pool test. The black spots are where there's not enough confidence to say anything certain bout the depth. Our Zed camera has difficulty mapping 3D images underwater due to water refraction, particles and discolouring that can be frustrating characteristics about any visual autonomy underwater. At least there seems to be a pattern in the confidence map that we might find a way to abuse!


Over the next weeks we'll continue to prepare for the transition to Beluga MK2 and nearing an ASV prototype after shipping the buoancy plates to the machining company. As well as continuing all of our other parallell tasks, of course.