ToughSonic Sensors Guide Solar Boat

TU Delft boat at full speed

ToughSonic 14 ultrasonic sensors guided the 2014-2015 solar boat which placed third at the Solar1 Cup in Monaco in July 2015. The new design uses energy efficient ToughSonic 14 sensors.

Senix Renews Sponsorship of The TU Delft Solar Boat Team.

Senix Corporation is once again a proud sponsor of the Solar Boat team at Technical University Delft in the Netherlands. Senix ultrasonic sensors play a key role in controlling the hydrofoiling process which, in turn, provides much of the boat’s energy efficiency. The engineering students at TU Delft unveiled their new boat design at the Amsterdam Boat show this week.

Getting the boat hydrofoiling quickly and safely is critical to racing performance. One mistake and the boat will crash! Once the boat is hydrofoiling, the bow and stern-mounted ultrasonic sensors will help the control system maintain an optimum ride height during the race. The goal is to keep the drag-inducing hull out of the water without allowing the hydrofoiling control surfaces or the propeller out of the water. According to team Design Engineer, Bart Vonk, “The control system is key and it is only as strong as its weakest link. Good sensors are important.”

The new design builds on the previous double-T hydrofoil configuration, but with some important differences. The 2014 boat used a Senix ToughSonic 14 ultrasonic sensor at the bow to control the altitude of the boat as it lifted to hydroplane. Another ToughSonic 14 was mounted on the stern for telemetry, but it was not involved in the active control of the boat.

The new boat incorporates ToughSonic 14 serial-only sensors in the bow and stern.  Both ultrasonic sensors are integrated into a more sophisticated control system that manages altitude and pitch. Senix’s General Purpose sensors were designed for use in remote liquid level measurement applications like irrigation automation and flood monitoring systems, but their lower energy consumption, IP-68 immersion rating and fast measurement cycle made them a good choice for hydroplaning control as well. The ToughSonic 14’s will measure hull height 100 times per second and transmit data to the Inertial Measurement Unit in ASCII streaming mode for maximum processing speed. According to Bart Vonk, “The ToughSonic sensors are working like a charm.”

About The TU Delft Solar Boat Team

The TU Delft Solar Boat Team consists of 20 to 25 students from Delft University of Technology. The team designs and builds a new solar-powered hydrofoil boat every two years and races in the biennial Dutch Solar Challenge, the World Cup in solar boat racing. The previous Solar Boat team finished an impressive third at the Solar1 Cup in Monaco in July, 2015. The boat unveiled this week will begin sea trials in April in preparation for the Dutch Solar Challenge world championship this summer. See a couple of the current team members describe the boat design process in this short video:

About Senix Corporation

Senix designs and manufactures advanced ultrasonic sensors for liquid level measurement, distance measurement and object detection. Senix ToughSonic® sensors are used in a wide range of automation and research applications worldwide.

The TU Delft Solar Racing Team are the latest among several boat designers and marine engineers to use ToughSonic sensors for marine applications. Several America’s Cup sailing teams, including defending champions Oracle Team USA, use Senix ultrasonic sensors for hydrofoiling control. ToughSonic sensors are also used to measure motion and freeboard height on ocean cargo ships and barges. Senix ultrasonic sensors can be found where ever fast, accurate and reliable level and distance measurements are required.

Senix Corporation is a privately held company located in Hinesburg, VT, USA.

See more information on the 2013-2014 TU Delft Solar Boat design.

See how Oracle Team USA uses ToughSonic ultrasonic sensors to control hydrofoiling in America’s Cup racing.

For more information on how Senix can help with your application contact us at or click here!

Hydrofoil SocietySenix is a member and proud sponsor of the International Hydrofoil Society.