[Barry] has an expedition planned. He’s going to be exploring coastlines, inlets, and other shallow waters where even small ROVs are too big. [Barry] wants an autonomous vehicle on this expedition, though, and that means he must build his own. This led to The Julius Project, repurposed kayaks, and all the techniques that go into making proper maritime electronics.
The first question [Barry] gets is, ‘why kayaks?’ A quick cruise around Craigslist is enough to answer that – they’re cheap, and they’re available in almost infinite variety from big touring kayaks to small play boats, all built for different conditions and expeditions. With a few motors and modular parts to this build, [Barry] has an autonomous aquatic vessel built for every condition imaginable.
Right now, [Barry]’s focus is getting the propulsion working. This comes in the form of a few brushless motors bolted to the underside of the kayak. A tethered test was very successful, demonstrating this tiny boat can turn on a dime. Integration with an autopilot is coming, but until then [Barry] has a neat little boat puttering around a river. You can check out a video of that below.