This boat carries an ADCP (to measure current) and uses a 1000 watt gas generator for 24 hour operation. It breaks in half and fits in the back of a standard truck. Custom propellers were designed and efficiency, measured by (watts/knot), was increased by 40%.
I first started working on unmanned boats in 2008 as part of an LSU research project studying tidal passes in south Louisiana. The research required manned boat operations for 24 hours in the same locations, something an unmanned boat could do better. I then wrote the code for a navigation program and interfaced it with large speed controllers. This setup has surveyed hundreds of km distance over many locations including Belize where it autonomously surveyed lakes with side scan sonar. I have since changed the microprocessor to APM 2.6 and Pixhawk and am using the rover firmware. I have designed, built and delivered many unmanned boats to clients.
This boat carries an ADCP and fathometer and can easily be carried by one person. With an endurance of 4 hours or more, it was last used on the north slope in Alaska to measure the depth and currents of small lakes.
This boat/sub does not have an autopilot. It was designed for a movie and with 2 x 80 lb thrust motors, it really gets it going. Powered by 4 x 16,000 mah batteries gave endurance of 8 hours or more.