The project was initialized at YourExtreme, fall 2014. YourExtreme is a contest hosted by Kongsberg Gruppen and held at NTNU in Trondheim. Harald Ånnestad sat at the table with a group of good friends and challenged them to come and work for Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, where he is President, the next summer.
Half a year later the project materialized into a long term project called Coastal Shark. The first year of this project the students were given a Sea Doo Spark 3-up water jet. They were to rebuild it, so that it could be controlled from land. The boat got the name Aegir. It is named after Ægir, from Norse mythology, a giant who reigns over the sea.
The first year of the project was about making the circuits and the wireless communication that was needed so that the boat could be controlled unmanned. The speed, ignition, breaks and stop already had analog and digital signals controlling it. A big challenge was that external circuits connecting the internal ones has never been implemented on this water jet.
The angle of the motor was the only mechanical part of the steering process. In Aegir they implemented a linear actuator that could turn the jet in which direction we wanted.
Aegir was originally transmitting information over UHF-radio, which is a military standard radio. The boat has also a live-feed camera applied.
During the second year of the project, several things were improved. Regulation of heading and speed were implemented. In combination with new sensors, and graphical user interface (GUI) Aegir was now able to follow pre-planned routes. This was a great step towards an autonomous system. In addition, electronics was replaced, security was improved, and the system was made wireless by using a wireless kill-switch.
The third year goals for the project are about making the system further autonomous and more reliable. This includes the ability to identify and avoid objects using computer vision, as well as implementing complex search- and route-planning algorithms. Sensors, hardware and software parts were also improved or replaced as a step towards a more reliable and stable system.
In long term the boat will be a 30 feet autonomous Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) that can operate far from its base station. The applications for the boat can be various, ranging from search-and-rescue missions to mine sweeping. In general, missions where the risk of human casualties are high.