Using Modified Hydraulic Steering System, U of A Students Help to Develop Self-Driving Boat

Last updated on August 25th, 2018 at 04:47 pm

In this day and age, we have many of the major automotive companies and other companies looking at the idea of self-driving cars. As each year passes, the technology advances more and more. The goal of a self-driving car is not that far away. Students at the U of A have been working on a concept that takes this idea to another level. Self-Driving boats with futuristic hydraulic steering systems have been portrayed in the movies, but the idea of boats steering themselves and passengers relaxing and taking in sunsets is another revolutionary concept.

The idea of being able to fish, have a cocktail, lead a charter boat, or travel cruise without having to worry about the hassle of driving the boat is truly unique. Students at the U of A, are now tirelessly working on the robotics and technology necessary to turn a steering cable and SeaStar hydraulic steering system into a self-driving boat. This is literally turning a vision and dream into reality.

As robots and robotics advance, the number of potential applications and advances in everyday life is limitless. The U of A students are working on turning the idea of relaxing on a boat, which is a pastime many people enjoy into a work-free experience. A self-driving boat would be the realization of this goal and they believe it is truly not that far away into the future.

modified seastar hydraulic steering system

Self Driving Boat Prototype using modified SeaStar hydraulic steering system

Modified SeaStar Hydraulic Steering System: Future of Self Driving Boats

So, how did it begin for the U of A? Students took a SeaStar hydraulic steering system as the starting point. They did an analysis of the components of the Sea Star hydraulic steering system. Looking at the components of the system, they then developed a control module chip set to attach to the system.

This control module chip set consisted of many advance electronic components which take the human element out of the equation. These electronics were developed by the U of A advanced robotics team. One of the chip sets involved simulates the exact movements of the SeaStar hydraulic steering system. This chip set moves the wheel of the boat based on weather conditions, wave conditions, and also measures turbulence.

The amazing part of the new technology is that it has the ability to turn the boat’s steering wheel on a dime, keep the boat of out trouble. The chip set actually replaces the physical steering cable, cannot break, is water and temperature resistant as well. The U of A students have manufactured this so it is virtually indestructible.

How far away is the technology you ask? It is here and available now. However, in their unending pursuit of perfection, the U of A students, in conjunction with researchers from, are in the final stages of testing and approval for actual use. This should be completed in the next couple of years, and once completed this truly groundbreaking technology will be available for the masses of boat users out there.

Before you know it there will be self-driving boats out there in the great lakes, and rivers and oceans of this country and the world. If you see one of these boats, you will have the U of A to thank for it.