Open Source Survey Boats

The Julius project aims to show that "end-of-life" kayaks can provide a suitable, low cost, platform on which to build an autonomous vehicle capable of undertaking scientific research and exploration missions.

The Julius Project was a 2016 Hackaday prize semi-finalist

Easy transportation

As Julius uses a Kayak body, transportation to your survey site is as simple as loading it onto your car's roof rack. There are a wide variety of roof rack kayak mounts available on the market for single or multiple kayaks and for those with restricted movement.

No need for bulky or expensive trailers.

Launch anywhere

Launch straight from the beach or river bank - no slipway needed. Julius can be towed to and from the start of your survey area by kayak if you don't have direct land access to it, or be manually driven with a standard RC controller.

Infinitely Extendable

The main electronics and battery compartments are attached to a raised, slotted aluminium, frame to provide space for additional sensors and equipment to be loaded into the Kayak body and secured.

The frame itself is adjustable to fit most kayak bodies enabling you to swap bodies for different missions or conditions.

Open Source Hardware

Where possible we've used ready built / off-the-shelf open source hardware and components.

We've also released all the custom hardware and electronics that we built for the Julius project as open source as well so that they can be modified to your needs and improved upon.

Ground Control Station

QGroundControl provides full control and mission planning for the Julius kayaks. Its primary goal is ease of use for first time and professional users. All the code is open-source source, so you can contribute and evolve it as you want.

Waypoint navigation

Julius can follow a pre-defined mission plan to survey an area

Manual Control

Manually control Julius with a Radio Control handset,

Live System Status

Live Status, sensor and position reports sent directly to your ground control station.

Powered by Ardupilot

Julius runs the Open Source Ardupilot autopilot software - the most fully-featured and robust autopilot software available.

Ardupilot is the most advanced, full-featured and reliable open source autopilot software available. It has been developed over 5+ years by a team of diverse professional engineers and computer scientists. It is the only autopilot software capable of controlling any vehicle system imaginable, from conventional airplanes, multirotors, and helicopters, to boats and even submarines.

Want more information?

We're constantly updating, improving and testing our Julius kayaks.

If you'd like to get involved then please get in touch using the form to the right or the email address and social media links in the footer.

You can also follow our project on (though it isn't updated as often as we'd like it to be)


Send through a message using the form below.