@webhoppery - I like the direction you’re going. Using a control loop to manage attitude is exactly the approach we’ve been working on. We’ve already tested a system that holds Trident at completely vertical (either straight up or straight down) orientations, and we’ve found that to be extremely useful for diving to a known target. Since Trident is very hydrodynamic and tracks quite well, it can get through the water column quickly without being as effected by currents durring its decent, and it’s easy to pop up to the surface to see where you are once you’ve located a target. We’re still finishing up some testing with this system before we release it to our app, but in some of the field testing we’ve done, we’ve been able to dive to 60m (200ft) targets and come back to the surface in under two minuets.
Our user interface for this feature is the part we’re working on now, and the system we have found works the best is pretty simple: when you move the control stick for the vertical thruster all the way to its extreme position (either all the way forward or all the way aft) when the vehicle is pitched 75 degrees or more, it will engage the pitch controller which will point the vehicle completely vertically in that direction. For the pilot, this effectively means that if they want to dive on a certain spot, all they need to do is push all they way forward on the pitch joystick while moving forward, and the vehicle will automatically make a b-line straight for the bottom. Likewise, if you want to ascend directly upward from a given location, you can just pull all the way back on pitch while moving forward and you’ll come straight up. If the pilot eases off the vertical thruster joystick, the ROV will resume normally controlled flight.
We still have a few more edge cases to work out before this system is ready for prime-time, but I think it will be very helpful for people who are interested in visiting specific locations with Trident.
Thanks for the post!