Thursday, March 17, 2011

Failure (Almost) to Launch

Today we launched the AUV in Pembroke. It took a couple trips in Timmy's smaller car to get the AUV, and all 10 of us out to the coast. We were all excited to get in the water (Chris was the most enthusiastic), and had planned ahead by wearing our swimsuits. We were especially excited about the AUV's first launch in the Mediterranean. Our plan was to take the AUV out to about 10 meters from the water line, just past the big rocks. We would then let it go out on its first mission to a waypoint approximately 100 meters off of shore. It was then supposed to turn around, and come back to a final stopping point of 60 meters off shore. This was mostly what happened.

Our first problems started when we had trouble transferring files for the mission from the toughbook to the AUV's hard drive. We were finally able to get them transferred after many debugging attempts, resets, and reboots. It was at this point that we were ABANDONED by Chris, as he had to go off to give a talk at the University of Malta (which he reportedly rocked). Next, we had trouble with the IVER (AUV) connecting to its instruments. This was solved by another reboot of the IVER. We finally had success! Time to launch that robot.

Tyler and Jeff got into the water and Andy, Billy, and Brig brought the IVER to the water's edge. I had a nice view from up on a large rock where we had placed the Wifi box. Tyler and Jeff swam the IVER out and the rest went according to our initial plan. BUT THEN! IT STOPPED! So, it turns out, we over estimated the distance from the coast, and when the IVER came to rest it was too far to establish a Wifi connection so we could not manually drive the IVER back. As the IVER started drifting away in the current, we realized we needed to send a rescue mission. Since Tyler and Jeff were already in the water, they were sent to go after it. It was very exciting watching them bring the IVER back, especially when the waves started getting bigger. In the end, we successfully launched and completed a mission - even though it wasn't quite what we had expected. Hooray for success!

Zoe showed the initiative and went for a quick swim and then we all followed suit (except Billy and Andy).

Too bad Timmy wasn't around for the rescue mission, he could have used his super reach to pick it up right out of the middle of the sea!


  1. I almost just fell out of my chair laughing - thank you for the wonderful & engaging play-by-play, and congrats to Tyler & Jeff on the successful rescue of the IVER, and to the team for the successful mission! I so wish I could have seen all of this in person! Did you collect biological data with the IVER today or is that to come? And what type of mission was the IVER running? At one constant depth or (I think the right word is) undulating? And what type of pattern?

  2. This was actually just a test run. We were going to do several more missions that covered more area, but after this, we decided to call it a day. This mission was just a straight line out and back on the surface. We did collect data still which I am looking at now. Hopefully there will be something useful in there


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