At the beginning of the project, I had dreams of creating a custom hull. I still do, but I quickly realized such an endeavor, with little to no mechanical experience, would set the project back further than I wish. All that being said, I purchased an ROV.
"No, it's not cheating," I screamed at my internal dialogue. While teleoperation will be an important part of our AUV, autonomy remains the main goal. On top of that, I plan to keep neither the computer that comes with the vehicle, nor its software.
Why buy the ROV then? Well:
- It's a prefab hull that I don't need to design or order
- It came with six of the thrusters I planned to order
- The lead time on the ROV was shorter than ordering the thrusters themselves
- This particular design has "fins" to which to attach sensors
- The ROV cost only slightly more than the sum of the thrusters
- I estimate I have reduced the time to maiden voyage by at least 4 months
- We always have the option to reuse hardware for future, custom-hulled models
Rather than drone on any longer, here it is-- the BlueRobotics BlueROV: