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Maritime RobotX Challenge

PI Eric Coyle

The Maritime RobotX Challenge entails the development and demonstration of an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV). Embry-Riddle is one of three U.S. schools selected to compete in the challenge, which is co-sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation.

​The 2014 ERAU platform, named Minion, is a 16-foot fully-autonomous Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel (WAM-V) platform and is registered as an autonomous boat in the state of Florida. Minion's development currently focuses on autonomous tasks of buoy channel navigation, debris avoidance, docking, target identification and sonar localization. To accomplishing these tasks, the team has developed as set of system software nodes including state estimation, object classification, mapping and trajectory planning. These nodes run in parallel across a set of networked computers for distributed processing. Minion's propulsion system is centered around a set rim-driven hubless motors attached to articulated motor pods. This design reduces the risk of entanglement, and provides consistent thrust by maintaining motor depth in rough seas.

The group is currently developing the 2016 platform for the competition.

Research Dates

10/04/2013 to 10/31/2025


  • Brian Butka
    Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dept
    Ph.D., M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
  • Eric  Coyle
    Mechanical Engineering Department
    Ph.D., Florida State University
  • Patrick Currier
    Mechanical Engineering Department
    Ph.D., M.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    B.S., Tennessee Technological University

Tags: engineering sciences mechanical engineering unmanned and autonomous systems electrical and computer engineering

Categories: Faculty-Staff