P16250: Self-Powered Autonomous Aquatic Vehicle

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

The initial project proposal involved a wide scope, which ranged from crossing Lake Ontario to conducting research, search and recovery, and a number of potential applications. It was immediately clear that the main goal for this phase of the project is to narrow down the scope of the project to define a list of requirements that the project should meet.

Project Summary

This project aims to develop a marine surface vessel which is capable of self-sufficient missions. This includes:

Today, there exists a strong need for autonomous vehicles in a number of different applications where a human crew may be too dangerous, cost-prohibitive, or inefficient to deploy. One of the most prominent applications is in the aquatic field, where search and recovery operations can be extremely time-consuming due to the size of the area that needs to be covered.

SPAAV shall fit these needs by providing a self-sufficient watercraft which would be capable of extended operations with little to no human intervention.

Customer Interview


  1. What have you envisioned the vessel to look like and operate?
    • Rough dimensions?
    • Description of ideal material
    • Key energy sources
  2. Ultimately, what is the goal for the vessel? What would you like for it to be able to accomplish?
  3. Should the vessel be water-tight all the way around, or only water-tight around the electric module?
  4. What is the ideal speed of the vessel?
  5. How durable should the vessel be?
  6. What type of environment will the vessel travel through?
  7. How long should the vessel be able to operate without human interaction?
  8. What would be the maximum duration of a mission? Would there even be a maximum?
  9. How often do you expect to receive position updates from the vessel?
  10. Do you require the ability to modify the vessel's mission plan remotely?
  11. What types of power generation should be used?


Customer Answers

Use Cases

SPAAV aims to provide a versatile platform for a number of different applications by providing the basics: electrical energy for mission equipment, autonomous navigation to waypoints defined in the mission plan, and telemetry and communications relay to a base station. Listed below are a number of example use scenarios:

Example Use Scenarios:

We have selected a simplistic data collection use scenario to allow ourselves to focus on the key deliverables for this project: autonomous navigation, sustainable energy generation, and sustainable propulsion.

SPAAV Use Scenario

SPAAV Use Scenario

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

The expected end result of this project will be a completed prototype that will be fully sustainable and able to autonomously navigate to pre-programmed way points while recharging its batteries.

Customer Requirements (Needs)

The active list of Customer Requirements is maintained in the "Requirements and Testing" document.
Customer Requirements

Customer Requirements

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

The active list of Engineering Requirements is maintained in the "Requirements and Testing" document.
Engineering Requirements

Engineering Requirements

House of Quality

The intent of the House of Quality (HOQ) document is to correlate Engineering Requirements (ERs) with Customer Requirements (CRs) to ensure that there is sufficient engineering coverage on the CRs. By the same token, the HOQ ensures that there are no extraneous engineering efforts being expended on requirements that the customer does not need.

The active copy of the House of Quality is located in the "House of Quality" document.

House of Quality Snapshot

House of Quality Snapshot

Problem Definition Review

Problem Definition Week 3 Review PowerPoint

Project Definition Review Notes

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