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Robotics: Solar Ray

This page contains notes on my efforts to build an autonomous flapping-wing unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for the Intelligent Machine Design Lab class (EEL 5666C) at the University of Florida. The robot was presented with a summary paper at FCRAR ’10:
Love, R., Arroyo, A. and Schwartz, E., “Solar Ray: An Autonomous Solar-Powered Biomimetic Flapping-Wing Underwater Vehicle”, Florida Conference for Recent Advances in Robotics, 2010.

Project Goals
1. Create an autonomous, bio-inspired, underwater robot that can swim by flapping
2. Follow prescribed path while avoiding obstacles
3. Obtains underwater video and stores on an SD card
4. Automatically recharges with solar energy (surfaces when runs low on power)
5. Dives for up to 2 hours, up to 10ft deep
6. Easy access to sensor locations and all electronics
7. Built with off the shelf components

Initial efforts have centered on sizing which is very similar to the Cownose Ray (see them swimming).

36 in wingspan
11 in flapping amplitude
0.1 mph forward speed
Pridgen-Vermeer Robotics Board

Initial Layout


Second Look

Underwater Testing

Project Reports
Week 0: Concept Design Statement, Initial Sizing, Component List and Budget
Week 1: Refined Concept and Sizing, Start Purchasing
Week 2: Critical Calculations, Updated Budget and Parts List, Submitted/Presented Initial Design Proposal
Week 3: Progress Summary: Construction and Received Parts
Week 4: Finalized Conceptual Design-Wing Design and Pitch Modulation
Week 5: Continued Preliminary Design, Initial Wing Fabrication, Initial Submersion Testing
Week 6: Pitch Control, Initial Wiring Design, Wing Construction and Sensor Integration
Week 7: Electronics Integration, Wing Mount Construction
Week 8: Obstacle Avoidance
Week 9: Special Sensor Testing, Submitted/Presented Detail Design Report
Week 10: Wing Fabrication
Week 11-13: Underwater Testing, Programming and Debugging
Final Report

Thanks to Patrick and Gabe at Hawkeye/Northcross Marine for their assistance with the depth finders.

Thanks to my professors Dr. Arroyo and Dr. Schwartz, out TA’s Thomas Vermeer and Mike Pridgen, as well as Steve Thone and Jason Rollette, and ROV group for all of the invaluable suggestions they have shared. Thanks to Deloris at Alterations by Deloris for helping make a superb swimsuit.

All Information, Pictures, and Material on or directly accessible from this page is copyright © 2010 by Robert Love and may not be used for any personal or commercial purposes without the consent of the author. All rights reserved. The Author makes no guarantees or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of, or results to be obtained from accessing and using the Information herein.



1. Anonymous - January 13, 2010

Sweet start 🙂

2. amit - April 26, 2011

its really nice idea..


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