Sea Machines
  • CTO and co-founder of Sea Machines in Boston, MA. Company was selected as a Finalist in MassChallenge 2016

  • Engineered and retrofitted prototype boat, a 24ft azimuth drive tug

  • Added all on board electronic systems and conducted integration and commissioning trials single handed

  • Completed first oil boom towing mission in July 2016

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The Sea Machines prototype "507" is seen driving away from a barge, while I control it from the belt-pack controller

While CTO and co-founder of Sea Machines, I am working to bring autonomy to the somewhat staid maritime space through our technologies and our prototype boat.
I sourced and converted a 24ft Dutch river tugboat into a fully drive-by-wire, well engineered and reliable tested vessel from which we could test our autonomy software and carry out missions in Boston harbor.
I integrated Siemens S7 300 PLCs to the boat while interfacing them to the Linux based control computers. All actuation is done through Siemens remote Profibus I/O through a distributed network.

(Seen below, the Sea Machines team being interviewed on our vessel by the Discovery Channel.)

 A camera team from The Discovery Channel is seen filming me (right, in floppy hat) and CEO Michael Johnson for a prime time segment about our company.

A camera team from The Discovery Channel is seen filming me (right, in floppy hat) and CEO Michael Johnson for a prime time segment about our company.

The Sea Machines Prototype, "507", is seen left towing oil boom in collaboration with a manned boat, at right, in Boston Harbor in July 2016

The development of a Human Machine Interface for a vessel that is completely drive-by-wire presented some of its own problems. Since the vessel has dual azimuth thrusters, a control scheme that controlled both thruster angles, engine throttle and clutching was required. Manifesting this system onto two joysticks (seen right, in phases of design - finished unit) in such a way that someone could be taught to drive the system quickly was a challenge.

Seen below is the symbolic wiring diagram of the vessel. This, along with the the accompanying spreadsheet, helped keep the build-out of the boat planned and on track. It also allowed for precise purchasing with little waste of wire and connections. Overall, the boat has 2,400 ft of wire, several communication busses and several different power systems. Thanks to smart equipment choices and the reliability of the boat, we have experienced few equipment malfunctions.

The electrical schematic of the boat, showing both power and data busses.

 The development of the belt-pack remote is show in several stages

The development of the belt-pack remote is show in several stages

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