This Arduino-Powered Boat Boasts Full Autonomy, Plus LoRa and GSM Cellular Remote Control

Built over a year and a half, this boat uses three Arduinos, up to two lead-acid batteries with solar charging, and packs 3D-printed parts.

Pseudonymous maker "TicsDaily" has shown off an Arduino-driven boat, offering a full autopilot mode as well as manual control over LoRa and cellular GSM radios from a 3D-printed touchscreen controller.

"I've been working on it for a year and a half," TicsDaily explains of the project. "It has three separate microprocessors that all talk to each other in the boat and then a separate one that it communicates with over RF. Nothing that it uses was built in, everything is separate parts built and programmed from scratch."

This Arduino-powered boat can travel autonomously — and charge on the way via solar panels. (📹: TicsDaily)

The boat uses what its creator describes as a "terribly-designed military style hull — you could hit this with a sledgehammer and it would not break," a 3D-printed steering mechanism connected to a servo, a solar panel, up to two sealed lead-acid batteries, and three internal microcontrollers each with a given duty.

"I [...] wrote quite a decent autopilot GPS waypoint based navigation system, it uses the GPS and also the electronic tilt compensated compass I designed," TicsDaily explains. "The control box also let you skip or set new waypoints as long as both the boat and the control box have mobile phone signals. The boat has two large rechargeable batteries in it it and it reports its location to the receiver box."

"I have written a manual control program over LoRa and GSM, but its primary mode is self navigating with no need for the LoRa or GSM connection. The areas I will likely use it will have cellphone signals. You can get a phone signal all round the coast of the UK and even right into the middle of the English channel."

More details are available on TicsDaily's Reddit thread. So far, no design files or schematics have been publicly released.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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