Unmanned boat to help chart water quality in Marina catchment

A solar-powered catamaran will be making its rounds in the Kallang Basin. But unlike other leisure boats, this one will be unmanned just like those used in the military.

The Waterways Watch Society (WWS), non-governmental organisation that has helped monitor and clean Singapore's waterways for 15 years, will use the catamaran to monitor water quality in Marina catchment area. The boat will collect water quality data to add to data that is already being collected by national water agency PUB.

Designed and built by students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Engineering, the boat is chock full of sensors to indicate how polluted the waters are. Sensors measure pH levels - how acidic or alkaline they are - as well as the amount of dissolved oxygen in them.

The boat can be manoeuvred and operated by a single user on a laptop, which is connected to the boat via a wireless internet connection. Onboard cameras relay live video feed back to the boat's operator, while a laser rangefinder notifies him or her about obstacles in its path.