Document Type



Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Adviser

Grenestedt, Joachim L.


The Lehigh Ocean Research Craft Autonomous, or LORCA, was designed and built at Lehigh University's Composites Laboratory as a versatile unmanned boat, or Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV). Ten 1.2m long boats have been built in various configurations, with the last seven built identically. The boat is fully self-righting with an enclosed electric motor, allowing it to be deployed in ocean conditions and rolled over without losing power or damaging equipment. Composite materials were used wherever possible in construction resulting in a craft that is strong, fast, and lightweight. The LORCA platform is unique in its combination of high speed, measured at over 21m/s in flat conditions, and capability of operating in ocean waves. Typically boats with these capabilities are significantly larger and require trailers and infrastructure to launch. Weighing less than 12kg our craft is man-portable and can be launched nearly anywhere. Construction of the craft is currently being completed and testing of the autonomous algorithms is underway.