Working on the telemetry system of the boat

My name is Esmee Huijten and I am a member of the Solar Boat Team 2018. In the past half year, I have been working in the D:DREAM hall, making new features for our telemetry system. The telemetry system ensures that all gathered data on the boat is processed, stored, and displayed on a user-friendly interface for the strategy team. At the beginning of the year, I have spoken to a lot of alumni of the Solar Boat Team to find out which features would really be an improvement and based on those and my own ideas, I am improving our telemetry system.   

The location of the boat

During tests and races, the boat often has to sail long distances. As such, we will not always be able to see where exactly the boat is. For the strategy team, it is important to know where the boat is, for example to determine if we are on schedule or not. It is also important for the team to be able to get to the boat as fast as possible if there is a problem. Because of that, it should be very easy to obtain the route from the team to the boat at any moment. In previous years, the team did not have a live feed of the location and this could cause difficulties for the team. We now have a panel in which we can see the live location of the boat and we can open a webpage which instantly gives the route from the device to the boat. 

P-V curve

The P-V curve of the boat relates the consumed power P to the velocity V. Comparing the real-time power and velocity with our predetermined P-V curve can tell us a lot about the performance of the boat and can help with troubleshooting. We can see for example, if the boat uses more or less power than predicted. We can also determine the most efficient velocities if we combine this information with the weather and the distance that the boat has to sail. Finally, if there is a problem, for example the solar panels are not working as they should or there is something stuck in the propeller of the boat, the consumed power is much higher than expected. Hence, plotting P-V points real-time helps to determine if there is a problem that needs to be solved.

Hardware components of the telemetry system

Next to my software tasks, I am in charge of a few hardware components that need to be connected and tested. All electric components are connected with each other with one large cable, that transfers the data of all these components to one place in the boat. From here, the data needs to be sent to a database. This is where the telemetry system comes into play, where the data is transmitted via a 4G connection. The telemetry system therefore contains a 4G modem, an antenna, and a board, which needs to be programmed so that it knows what it has to do. At the moment, the implementation is almost finished, so the telemetry system will soon be ready to be tested and used.