Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



The goal of the electrical engineering capstone project, Dynamic Positioning 2 (DP2), is to prototype a controlled dynamic positioning system that has a single-failure safe capability. The primary objective is for the platform to maintain a desired heading and position within ten degrees and three hundred millimeters, respectively, using data obtained from three light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors. The secondary objective is for the control system to compensate for the failure of a single sensor or motor. The platform for the DP2 project is a salvage drum that encases the electronic equipment and an inner tube for buoyancy. The internal construction consists of three tiers containing batteries at the lowest level, an onboard computer at the second level, and control hardware at the top level. The platform is tested in an indoor tank with an area of sixteen meters squared. The vessel’s position is calculated from the LIDAR data (bearing and range) to eight stationary poles that mark the outside of the tank using an overdetermined least squares matrix solution. The heading is calculated using the bearings and ranges to specific pairs of poles. An ad-hoc wireless network is used to communicate with the onboard computer while it is operating. All programming was completed in the NET Framework and MATLAB®. Students complete the project milestones through the application of material from past courses in computer control systems, software engineering, and electronic navigation at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The DP2 project is sponsored by the Marine Safety Center (MSC).