The team’s goal was to develop a boat that can travel and perform actions autonomously. Our boat, Trident, has participated in the 2018 Roboboat competition in Daytona Beach, Florida. Student teams from all over the world demonstrate the latest technologies and show what they are capable of. During the competition the autonomous vessel must be able to successfully perform a series of challenges in which it has to dock and undock, avoid obstacles, plan a path through a field of buoys, and pass through gates as fast as possible. The team placed fifth during the finals and won the ‘static judging’ award.
As this was the very first time that a team from The Netherlands would participate, it meant that we started from a blank piece of paper. This was both challenging, but also gave the team an interesting opportunity; as our team would compete with teams who have been participating for many years who have a lot of experience, we could specifically design the vessel in such a way that the team would have a strategic advantage if decisions were made carefully. This resulted in the lightest, smallest, and most powerful-per-weight vessel the competition has seen in years. I would be in charge of financing, raising close to €15.000,- and getting partners onboard, being the primary point of contact for our partners, the university, competition staff and media, website design and development, building the vessel in a 3D environment, CFD analyses, manufacturing, and logistics. Being the only designer in the team, it was my job to look further than just getting a good score in the competition, and they even interviewed me for their magazine. Our autonomous vessel impressed the judges, and I know for sure that they remember us for years to come.