Sport: Water: Underwater
Follow My Dive   (+5, -2)  [vote for, against]
Dive freely, your boat will be there for you

Use an automatic pilot on a boat to follow the divers during their dive. This way the divers don't have to worry about a rendez-vous point. They just have to come up and the boat will be there waiting. This can be achieved by adapting current automatic pilot systems based on GPS. There are already underwater positioning solutions (see link) so it would be a matter of supplying the underwater positioning info to the automatic pilot system instead of the GPS signal.
-- PauloSargaco, Apr 05 2008

Underwater positioning and navigation [PauloSargaco, Apr 05 2008]

Thats only half an idea. How does the boat deal with surface obstacles such as say, other boats and swimmers? [-]
-- sprogga, Apr 06 2008

// does the boat deal with surface obstacles //

Run the buggers down.

The boat isn't anchored, or (presumably) manned. That means that a systems failure in guidance, control or propulsion would leave it drifting. Not good.

An "emergency" anchor that deployed automatically in conditions of trackin systems failure might help.

The main problem is that you have a nice boat full of cool gear and no=-one in it. Someone will steal it ....
-- 8th of 7, Apr 06 2008

[sprogga], add a radar system which overrides the auto-pilot. The boat would stop if an obstacle showed up inside the safety zone. Plus, there must be some kind of international signalling regarding divers in the water. If so, theoretically that would mean that other boats should stay clear of a safety radius. Plus, it's not like divers swim very fast, so the boat wouldn't be speeding that much either. But yes, obstacles is something to take into consideration too.

[8th of 7] Regarding system failure you could minimize the possibility of guidance failure by introducing redundancy. Or even a three different systems with a voting policy. Like they do on the space shuttle (maybe this one's a bit of overkill).

Regarding theft or piracy, an anchored boat is subjected to the same threats.

The auto anchoring seems like a good idea. Although the possibility that the diver could be hit by an emergency anchor should be taken into consideration too :-)
-- PauloSargaco, Apr 06 2008

If the tracking system is accurate, and if there is strong surface wind that has to be worked against, won't the diver tend to surface right into a spinning propellor?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 06 2008

"QUICK, start the engine, we've only got about 5 minutes before that boat slowly nudges into us."

This would reduce the number of arsehole jetskiers using diving bouys for slalom practice (one of my friends died when he was hit by a boat surfacing from a dive).

It would not work in all situations though because there are often parts of a reef that are too shallow for a boat.

Also, you'd want the boat to be 10m away from you otherwise it would never let you surface.
-- marklar, Apr 06 2008

[MaxwellBuchanan] Hmmm, interesting point. Tell you what, the boat has a cable with a weight with about 5 meters length. At the end of the cable there is a switch. When the divers get to the cable they switch the engine off and the rest of the climb is done with the help of the cable. That way the boat will not drift away during the final ascent and the propeller will be stopped.
-- PauloSargaco, Apr 06 2008

This could make my cave dives more interesting.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 06 2008

[-] anything that gives machines autonomy.
-- FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2008

// [-] anything that gives machines autonomy.// So flying toasters are manual are they?
-- marklar, Apr 06 2008

[FlyingToaster], afraid the boat will exterminate humankind?
-- PauloSargaco, Apr 06 2008

//[FlyingToaster], afraid the boat will exterminate humankind//
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome my new floaty masters.
-- AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 06 2008

//floaty masters//
sp. Lovely Floaty Toasty Masters.
-- gnomethang, Apr 06 2008

// Lovely Floaty Toasty Masters //

"Contains chopped and shaped diver" (because the kilswitch for the prop didn't work......)
-- 8th of 7, Apr 06 2008

I think you've addressed it already, but I was quite amused by the image of the diver swimming towards the boat, and the boat gently backing away to maintain a 10m separation for safety.
-- david_scothern, Apr 09 2008

Concerning theft of the boat, it is a already going to be an expensive boat, so the buyer should be able to check off a box for a new radar controlled chain gun or a flamethrower. You know to deter theft........ and those jetskiers...
-- XValentine, Apr 10 2008

// jetskiers //


Jetskiers ... snowboarders like .... the Dark Side they are, mmmm yes .....

-- 8th of 7, Apr 10 2008

[8th], I thought you were imitating [madness], for a minute.
-- david_scothern, Apr 10 2008

random, halfbakery