Bruce is TeamQUT’s Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) developed to compete in the 2018 Maritime RobotX Challenge. TeamQUT builds on the 2014 and 2016 RobotX Challenges in both hardware and software to accelerate field deployment and autonomy generation. In 2018, the main research and systems focus areas were:
Bruce is a System-of-Systems comprising three independent robotic platforms; (1) Bruce ASV, (2) Gusto the ball launcher, and (3) Thunder4 the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Each system coordinates its actions through the master task planner using the Robotic Operating System (ROS).
Bruce has been developed by the Queensland University of Technology for entry in the 2018 Maritime RobotX Challenge. The design features include a modular sensor and computing hardware arrangement to facilitate rapid assembly and transportation between field sites, and a dual electric propulsion system. A complementary sensor suite and a software architecture built on the Robotic Operating System (ROS) provide a flexible framework for completing the challenge tasks.
Gusto is a custom racquet ball launcher developed to undertake the Detect and Delivery Task. Gusto is a fully self-contained autonomous system with its own camera and actuation. Initially developed in 2016, the entire low-level and task level software stacks were completely redeveloped to improve vision-based target detect and operational performance.
Thunder4 is a modified RangerBot Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) configured to undertake the Underwater Ring Task. Thunder4 has two stereo camera pairs, an IMU, GPS and on-board GPU for operating independently from Bruce. Task information is shared to other systems (e.g. Bruce) by a high-strength tether to Bruce. A custom scissor lift winch system attached to Bruce is used to launch and recover Thunder4.
Bruce has a range of current and voltage sensors for monitoring the motors and batteries which provides real-time feedback to the main software safety system. Monitoring these variables is critical for battery management and detecting any system fault.
The perception sensors provide the situational awareness for navigation, obstacle avoidance and completing the challenge tasks; Velodyne Scanning Laser Rangefinder.
Cameras: Two Logitech HD 720p USB web cameras are attached to the scanning laser mount providing a 90 degree field of view in front of the ASV.
Hydrophones: Two Aquarian Audio hydrophones are connected to a Roland Quad-Capture USB Audio Interface Device capable of sampling at 192 kHz and installed to the bow motor mounts to undertake the Underwater Search and Report task.
Primary navigation sensing for Bruce is from a GPS receiver and magnetic compass. A Novatal Flex6 GPS receiver is used proving up to 20 Hz output. A 9DOF Razor Inertial Measurement System consisting of three-axis accelerometers, flux sensors, and gyros provide the compass/heading angle.
A Vaisala WTX-520 weather station on the ASV to provide real-time wind-speed and direction data to the on-board control system.