- Here we see the seating position for the driver of the AmphiMax as an end
elevation with the vehicle heading toward you. Copyright diagram 24 October 2016. You will need
the permission of Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd to be able to reproduce this
picture except for private study or educational purposes.
The driving position for the AmphiMax needs to be high out of the water when the amphibious vehicle is partly submerged on the sea floor during launch and while semi-submerged floating at anchor - or when being navigated to other locations around the British coastline. As you can see from the drawings and model, the driver is placed up above the chassis bed some 4.5 metres (14.5 ft) in the air on a vertical frame, well away from the waves
Originally, we were going to site the diesel engines in a waterproof chamber lower down in the main chassis, but we decided it would be simpler and safer to keep these IC units well away from the water despite the extra length of high pressure hydraulic hoses and electrical wiring. In the diagrams on this page you can see the driver of the AmphiMax in pink and the diesel engines in blue. We have only shown two engines, but it may be cheaper to use four smaller units from a van (for example) mated to four smaller hydraulic pumps. For this reason and to maintain flexibility, we have allowed extra space for more engine mountings. All it takes is to slide in more of the engine subframes and bolt then in place.
The choice of engines boils down to what we can find that will give us the best performance to cost ratio - even if we attract an engine manufacturing partner. At the moment we are looking at second user vehicles as donors because that is all we can afford. We'd much rather use newer marinised units for when we set the world record launch and recovery.
When launching a SeaVax, the driver sits in his swivel chair looking across the length of the chassis of the AmphiMax which reverses out to sea. The SeaVax is facing the driver and is launched backwards.
In recovery mode, the driver still faces out to sea, but once the SeaVax has docked he spins his chair 180 degrees so that he is facing up the beach. He then drives the AmphiMax forward to climb the shore and land the SeaVax ready for whatever servicing the craft requires. Typically, this will be a good clean and maybe a coat of super slippery antifouling.
As a Virtual Shipyard, the AmphiMax has electrical power, water pumps and compressed air onboard to be used by an operator to wash a SeaVax down and spray the hull with whatever coating is required.
SIDE VIEW - This is the chassis from the side with the driver looking ahead of the AmphiMax in recovery mode - hence about to drive out of the sea. The cabin extends forward so that the roof has clearance for the SeaVax when launching and recovering the ocean cleaning craft.
PLAN VIEW - This is the chassis as seen from above to just past the mid point. The cabin is central and forward of the cross member and front bogies, allowing the driver unrestricted vision when climbing a beach. Vision is also fair when launching with the driver able to see left and right, with a camera and LED display to give him a picture of what is directly behind the SeaVax during launch. The driving seat will swivel so that the pilot may watch left and right, but the hydraulic lever controls will not follow the seat. We are considering duplicate levers behind the drivers seat, but only for forward and reverse. The speed controls can be set and left locked with the engines running at the desired speed.
DRIVERS CAB - Here are some views of the AmphiMax cab from the side, top and front as is likely to be built. The chair swivels to face the direction of travel, while the hydraulic control levers remain where they are at the side. No matter which way the driver faces, the controls appear then to be forward to go forward and back to go back. The model driver is Virgil Tracy from the Thunderbirds range, which just happened to be the correct scale with moveable joints. Copyright © pictures 2 December 2016. you will need the permission of Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd to use these pictures unless for subject review or educational purposes.
A manually operated lever control console. Not really applicable to robotics, save where the vessel may be controlled optionally by a crew. For a pre-production prototype this is a good developmental stage.
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