Remote Controlled Boat


I’ve been thinking for a long time about building a remote controlled boat that will allow me to more fully explore the rivers and stream around my home. Often footpaths don’t run alongside the river or the banks are crowded with trees, bushes and reed beds. There are miles and miles of unexplored reaches that are just around the bend, out of sight.

Inspired by the OpenROV project ( I’ve decided to make a start. I’m going to use this blog as a project diary to chart my progress. I find that it helps to write about projects as I go along to marshal my thoughts and documents progress and decisions. Perhaps somebody else may find this blog of interest, but more importantly hopefully others can contribute ideas and helpful suggestions.

The first thing I am going to do is to set out what the boat should do – a functional specification in technical speak. Whilst doing this I am not going to jump to solutions & start designing, that comes later.

1. Boat must be propelled, remotely controlled and be highly maneuverable
2. The boat must be suitable for small river & streams containing debris, shallows and over-hanging branches.
3. Must be capable of taking dip samples from the water at different depths
4. Must be capable of recording photographs and video above and below the water line from a range of positions
5. The location of all samples and images taken should be recorded (e.g. grid reference).
6. The boat must cause minimal disturbance to the environment
7. The boat should contain the minimum amount of specialist equipment

…………and hopefully it won’t end up looking like something from Wacky Races


I am sure that the functional spec will evolve over time.

That’s just part of the development cycle.