Purdue University Graduate School
Joseph Wichlinski Thesis.pdf (1.63 MB)

Fabrication and Automation of a Power-Conserving USV in Moving Water

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posted on 2021-07-23, 15:44 authored by Joseph Peter WichlinskiJoseph Peter Wichlinski
Water pollution in drinking water is a major concern in rural areas that depend on local surface and ground water supplies. The Amazon river, for example, has800 thousand rural inhabitants, many of whom do not have access to treated water. Reaching the Amazon River to collect these water samples is already a complicated task. With constantly changing floodplains, and therefore water quality, the ability to collect water samples remotely and autonomously can help rural areas monitor their drinking water. There have been several studies investigating different unmanned surface vehicle (USV)prototypes and data collection methods. However, none have specifically made a compact USV to maneuver in rivers, while aiming to conserve energy to drive longer distances. This paper describes an in-depth design, fabrication, and automation process for a USV to drive in the Wabash River. The USV monitors its own location, speed, and battery voltage for power consumption analysis. As proof of concept, the USV measures water depth during field studies performed in Lake Harner, Indiana and the Wabash River. These field studies yield affirming results for the controls logic and power conservation of the designed USV.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Eric Nauman

Additional Committee Member 2

Charles Krousgrill

Additional Committee Member 3

Peter Meckl