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Propelling forward

This day was special and exciting for two reasons.

This Saturday started at 12:00, USN, Campus Vestfold, the pool. Our first prototype boat was ready for its first large body of water. The hull itself had passed its buoyancy test already, being weighed down with roughly 30 kilograms in a small tank just wide enough for our purpose. This Saturday however, was the first time it had live components in it. This test was planned with several purposes in mind. Would the propeller be balanced well according to the size and weight of the boat? How would thrust, steering, and stopping look in terms of balance and efficiency? Would the hull be water tight? While still remotely controlled, how would the thrusters be affected by the water and what ranges of powers is reasonable for overall control?

Carefully closing the top-lid and sealing it with tape, it was set to the water. Taking the controllers and pushing the lever up, no technical surprises. The only surprise came with how almost childishly fun it is to drive… anything, remotely. The speed was as expected and within reason. A strong acceleration, all though slightly more backwards tilting (pitching) than we’d like. The same was true for quick stops, a bit more surge than wanted. Steering was surprisingly effective and it could easily turn on a dime while stationary and only rolling would stop us from doing almost the same at speed.

Of course each of us had to take turns even if not much new could be learned after a few tests. We had plenty of time to take good pictures from land, underwater and from its own POV. Some of us felt more nervous holding the controller than others. After all, this is our project and nearly all our physical resources are in one place. Screw this up, and we’d be making our challenge exponentially harder. After roughly two hours of some serious testing and goofing around, it was time to pack up, gather our data and store it for another day. Now it was time for our second reason for this day.

The entire team was gathered, our 11 engineers, 1 economist, and since just a month ago, 4 marketeers. The group recruited from campus Drammen was finally able to see all the faces that had only been on zoom so far. Pictures had been shared of our boat, but the effect of seeing it in real life is quite another. Coming from a different campus and holding the product of 11 strangers, the nervousness for mistakes was compiled. When our economist arrived with the fourth camera, he understood it was superfluous and let it rest - the marketing department had this covered.

When the pool time was up, we retreated back to our office for a somewhat less formal meeting, gliding into a social gathering over pizza for the rest of the day. We had time for discussions as well as simply getting to know each other better. Our dual purpose for the day exceeded expectations for all of us and the bridge between two campuses was well established.

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