Retrofit an 11-meter yacht for autonomous navigation

X WangX You

Abstract

Intelligent/autonomous ships form a rising field that brings beneficial changes to waterborne transportation such as relieving labour shortages, avoiding collisions, and providing assistance to humans. Many autonomous navigation attempts have been carried out on ship models rather than real ships. The results of these studies have certain gaps with the results of full-scale ships. Cost and risk of intelligent ships for autonomous navigation are yet unclear, which makes retrofitting existing ships for tests and development appealing. This paper introduces the process of retrofitting a full-scale 11-meter yacht, including mechanical retrofit, hardware redesign, software deployment, and functional testing. The process is proposed as a solution of ship retrofit for autonomous navigation functions like heading control, path following, and collision avoidance. In the end, this paper concludes a plan of hardware and software that could help find more retrofit solutions, providing a reference for academic research and practical applications.

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