After nearly 30 hours of travel due to thunderstorms over JFK, we finally arrived in San Diego yesterday for the 15th annual AUVSI/ONR RoboSub competition! There wasn't much time to rest, though, as we quickly set up shop in one of the rooms and began reassembling the vehicle for TRANSDEC the next day.
Our first day at TRANSDEC saw lots of testing and preparation for the coming days. We began the day by getting one of the first time slots for a practice run in the competition side of TRANSDEC. After adjusting a few things in the mission code, we very quickly drove through the validation gate and pre-qualified! The rest of the run was spent collecting images of the different mission elements, their locations, and tuning the controls. Unfortunately, the previous day, we discovered water in our new Seabotix thruster. This forced us to use one of our older, weaker thrusters as a replacement while Tom went to the Seabotix facility to see if it could be fixed.
After our first run, we spent some time in the dolphin pool to do some trimming and tuning with the replacement thruster. Not too long afterwards, we were able to get another practice run in the practice side of TRANSDEC. Similar to before, this run was mainly spent gathering images and locations of the different mission elements in the water. This information will be very helpful in preparing for future runs
Our third run of the day saw the first real mission tests in TRANSDEC. We began the run as normal by driving through the validation gate and attempting the buoys. At this point, we experienced an unknown problem with the mission where the sub began acting strangely. Quickly, we brought the sub back and reattempted the task, as well as others, several times. By doing this, we were able to gather more information about the problems and what was happening. Later after some debugging, we determined that the strange behavior was caused by a corner case in the course navigation code as well as poor lighting at the bins. Thankfully, by careful testing we were able to identify and fix these problems before they became an issue. Even with the problems, though, we were able to perform very well on the torpedo and emperor tasks!
In the mean time between our third and our final practice run, we were able to get the damaged thruster back from Seabotix, now repaired and functional once again, and place it back in the vehicle. After some DVL calibration, linearization, and trimming, the vehicle was back up in a fully functional condition, just in time for the final run. This run was focused on testing the controls with the fixed thruster and the fixed mission tasks. Unfortunately, it had to be cut short as it was at the end of the day, but we were still able to get quite a bit of testing done!
Now, we are back at the hotel doing some minor work on the vehicle and some code changes. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for an update on our second day at TRANSDEC!
Preparing to put the sub in for a practice run.
Hoisting the sub up with the crane.
"Ahh, another run completed." - Killick