Hzensor boat

In the coming years, HBO-ICT, Civil Engineering, Engineering and Maritime Officer students will be working on the Hzensor boat: a 2-metre boat that will sail autonomously and unmanned through the province of Zeeland. The boat will soon be sailing completely self-steering on the waterways of the Department of Waterways and Public Works and will be taking measurements of the water quality in areas such as where mussel cultivation is affected by sand replenishment.

Cooperation between study programmes
The sensor boat that is currently being worked on is a further development of an earlier version. Version 1 could sail up to 500 metres and take measurements, but did not sail independently. At the moment, Mats, Sophie, Dave and Gonzalo have ensured that the boat continues to sail with a controller. Eventually, the Hzensor boat must be able to sail completely autonomously and take measurements.

The complexity of this project explains the broad cooperation between the study programmes. Mats, an Engineering student, says:
"It's not without reason that our study programmes have merged. We need each other's expertise in order to make progress in such a complex project. As an engineer, you make sure that everything works on board. To do this, the ICT specialist also needs input from us, so that the software also communicates with the measuring equipment. Maritime Officer students advise us on maritime aspects of this project, such as the propulsion system and traffic rules on the water. Civil Engineering is specifically involved for the test runs. Good cooperation with each other is important; what is complex for one is really a no-brainer for the other."

H Zensorboot 1

Sensor boat development
Despite the different fields of expertise, there is a clear vision: to keep the boat sailing. A sensor is installed and attached to carry out various under water measurements. Sophie and Mats are mainly concerned with the technical installation and making sure everything works on board.

Sophie (Engineering student) says: "We are now working on the GPS connection with the board computer. Sometimes it's already a ray of hope in the project that a certain light changes colour."

Dave (HBO-ICT) is developing a software package for object recognition such as cameras and sensors. “At the moment we are working on the basic functions of the boat such as steering with remote control, GPS and autopilot sailing. If steering is effortless, we can look back on a successful project so far. It is up to the next project group to further fine-tune our work and take the next step in autonomous sailing.”

Want to know more about the course programmes?
Read more about it here: Civil Engineering, Engineering, Information and Communication Technology.