Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2016.


Electrical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Christopher Kitts

Second Advisor

Sally Wood


Conducting hydrologic research in remote areas is currently performed manually, making it a labor intensive and inaccurate solution. Due to the size, weight, and cost of automated solutions on the market today, a need has arisen for a low cost, highly portable, autonomous solution. Working closely with Santa Clara University’s Robotics Systems Lab (RSL), our team has developed a low cost, highly portable autonomous marine research vessel named MARV (Marine Autonomous Research Vessel). It is an autonomous surface platform where scientists outfit the vessel with their own data acquisition equipment. The mechanical chassis is collapsible for modes of remote transportation (i.e. helicopter, small trucks, backpacking). With a final weight of 25 kilograms, material cost of $4,482, and a cross track error of ±1 meter, we have successfully designed and manufactured low cost, highly portable autonomous solution. However, MARV does not operate on an adaptive navigation system. Further developments such as object avoidance and depth control would result in a fully autonomous marine platform.