Joachim Grenestedt, professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics and director of Lehigh’s Composites Lab, and John Spletzer, associate professor of computer science and engineering and head of the VADER robotics laboratory, have collaborated on a groundbreaking project using self-driving watercraft.

The Lehigh Ocean Research Craft Autonomous (LORCA) boats were initially designed to measure ocean waves responsible for slamming loads on fast-moving craft. But Grenestedt speculates that LORCA boats could have wider applications beyond wave research, including in search-and-rescue operations, security and ocean mapping.

Grenestedt’s lab built 10 boats, with hardware development and manufacturing funded in part by the Office of Naval Research. A Lehigh Collaborative Research Opportunity (CORE) grant helped fund autopilot software and systems that Spletzer developed.

Read the full story in the Summer 2018 Lehigh University Bulletin


Professor Grenestedt of Lehigh University speculates that his lab's LORCA boats could have application in search-and-rescue operations, security and ocean mapping.