Boat tender/dinghy with remote control

Discussion in 'Projects & Proposals' started by JonathanCole, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. JonathanCole
    Joined: May 2005
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    Location: Hawaii

    JonathanCole imagineer

    Anyone know of a dinghy that can be docked at your boat and then come to you to pick you up on shore at the push of a button? Its getting hard to find safe places to tie or stow your tender on shore. The dinghy would also need to have collision avoidance. Should be pretty straightforward with electric drive, GPS and smartphones to create an app that would call your tender to come to where you are waiting. It would need to have a positive latching mechanism and password protection.
     
  2. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    NTIKO. Making it completely autonomous would be very expensive. A busy marina isn't your living room floor. The dinghy market is too small and the liability too great to attract any industry (that has any sense). Its barely worth it in the auto industry, and even there they are still working on it.

    That said, it probably wouldn't be that hard to rig up the "brains" from an RC boat to the scaled up motor controller and rudder servo on a dinghy. As long as you still have line of sight, bringing it by remote control would not be a problem. I'm not so sure about using the smartphone though. Blutooth doesn't have much range, and you can't rely upon on cell/wifi to give it over-IP connectivity. But if you ever hit any thing/one... I hope your insurance is good.
     
  3. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Motor lockout
     
  4. JamesG123
    Joined: Mar 2015
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    Too easy. He wants James Bond.
     
  5. MurphyLaw
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    MurphyLaw Senior Member

    Wifi with a phone and you can use off the shelf open source software. There are satcom boards that only cost $100 that will send the dingy across the Atlantic to pick you up, the monthly fees are about $100 a month. You will need;

    Bass boat electric motor and propeller, battery and charger, steering servo, servo and motor controller, Raspberry Pi SBC(Small Board Computer with WiFi)

    The Hardware including the motor will be less than $1000 and the software is all open source but you will need to have a working knowledge of at least a single programming language to set it up. You need to modify lots of files and tell them what type of servo you are using and motor control parameters etc. I would glue a piece of rubber hose around the tender and seal one end and then connect the other end to a pressure switch and connect directly to the SBC, if the soft rubber hose hits anything it will squash the air in the hose and trigger the kill switch.
     
  6. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    And when your robo-dingy puts a million dollar scuff mark on a mega yacht? Cause, ya know an autonomous car has already killed someone.

    Yes, it would be pretty easy for someone handy with electronics to DIY this up. But just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
     
  7. MurphyLaw
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    MurphyLaw Senior Member

    There is only one thing worse than the competency of your average motorcar driver and that would be the competency of your average skipper. Last time I upgraded my skippers license of the 12 people taking the test I was the only one who could sail an upwind course and 11 passed. The one guy who failed father owned a yacht leasing company in the Med and the son was going to take guests on cruises. As crazy as it seems the ability to sail a course is not a requirement for a skippers license, you only have to be able to motor a course. Autonomous boats will be a lot safer than the average skipper.
     

  8. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    But your average skipper has a much, much, smaller net worth than your average boat mfg. or automation company. So are blood in the water in our litigious society. It doesn't matter if the 'bots would be better than the average idiot. When the average idiot causes a casualty, its his fault, when the idiot corporation's product doesn't perform perfectly 99.999% of the time, even when dealing with idiots, its their fault. This is why autonomous cars (and boats) aren't in the mass market. The technology has been there for decades, but it hasn't been absolutely, completely bullet-proof (a step up from idiot-proof). I am doubtful that it ever will, despite the money that is being poured into it, because there will always be your screen name, mucking things up.
     
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