Image: Teresa Lin

Each spring, the students in Mike Benjamin and Henrik Schmidt’s class at MIT run a fleet of Heron Unmanned Surface Vessel’s on the Charles River, but that’s actually the last thing they do in the Unmanned Marine Vehicle Autonomy, Sensing and Communications course (2.680).

During the winter, when the river is frozen, the students learn how to program the robots virtually, and figure out how the platforms will behave in aquatic environments. Then, when spring arrives and the river’s thaw begins, they take everything they have learned and run the code on real robots, right in the university’s sailing pavilion on the Charles River.

Using the Herons lets them show off the programs they’ve spent months developing for applications like data collection, hazardous object detection, and multi robot communication.

Take a look at the video below, or visit the full article to learn more about the class and the projects they’ve worked on.

Click here to learn more about the Heron Unmanned Surface Vessel.

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