Pi0Boat: a $250 Smart Aquatic Vehicle With the Pi Zero





Introduction: Pi0Boat: a $250 Smart Aquatic Vehicle With the Pi Zero

About: At Erle Robotics we aim to simplify robot and artificial intelligence creation and to do so, we build the next generation of artificial robotic brains.

A Linux-based smart aquatic vehicle.


Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated time: 12 hours


Erle-Boat is a Linux-based smart aquatic vehicle that uses robotic frameworks such as ROS (the Robot Operating System) and the award winning APM software autopilot to achieve different navigation modes.
Erle-Boat is ideal for water operations.

Mechanical features

  • Dimensions: 520 * 330 mm
  • Weight: 770 grams fully assembled (battery included)


Hardware components:

Erle Robotics PXFmini x1

Raspberry Pi Zero/W x1

Suggested parts:

  • PXFmini with WiFi 802.11ac USB dongle, microUSB to USB adapter for WiFi, Flashed MicroSD, Power module (JST GH) and GPS (For PXFmini) [Optional / Improvement]
  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • HobbyKing Pod Racer Boat 520mm
  • Radio controller
  • Battery

Step 2: Assembly

PXFmini Configuration

The PXFmini should be configured. Request the latest image for your PXFmini or acquire a flashed one with your order to Erle-Robotics.

Having the PXFmini you need to:

  • Set as a Erle-Rover

The easy method is via HDMI with the Erle-Robotics User Interface

  • Connect via network to APM

Connect via network to APM and Load Parameters for Erle-Boat

Step 3: PWM Inputs

The ESC should be connect to the motor and to the PXFmini's PWM #3. The Servo, need to be connected to the PWM #1

Everything in place
Ensure everything is in place. Check that the motor and servo can move free.

Step 4: Test

Be careful with the propeller. A suggestion is to make the first test with the Erle-Boat in a controlled area.



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    2 Discussions

    Depends on the motor and the use of the boat. We were just having fun and testing it, run it about 10-15 minutes and we didn't drain the battery.