Autopilot design

SumToZero is experienced at using the dynamic modelling capabilities of Gomboc to develop sophisticated autopilots for displacement and foiling yachts, including IMOCAs, several AC race and test boats, and smaller craft. We have developed a number of autopilots, for instance:

  • Helm control: Single input, single ouput such as steering to a heading or wind angle
  • Helm control: Multiple input, single output, combining multiple sensors to steer the yacht optimally in waves
  • Helm and sheet control: Multiple input, dual output, controlling helm and traveller or mainsheet to achieve target true wind and heel targets
  • Ride-height control: Foil flap or rake control to achieve a ride-height target
  • Flight control: Multiple input, multiple output: Fully integrated control of foils and rudder rake to achieve stable flight

To develop an autopilot, we first develop a model of the yacht in Gomboc, then model the autopilot itself. We have experience in a range of control strategies, including PID controllers, LQR controllers, and MPC strategies.

Our autopilots run on our Blogger software which would typically be installed on a low-cost Beckhoff PLC, which would in turn drive the actuators to control the yacht.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your project.