Solar-Powered Robotic Sailboat Set To Break Navigational Record, Research Porpoises
Austrian scientists are looking to break the record for the longest journey made by a fully autonomous sailboat, all while collecting data on a Baltic Sea porpoise.
Scientists from the Austrian Society of Innovative Computer Sciences hope their craft, named the ASV Roboat, will cover 150 nautical miles (172 miles) and work for 100 hours without human intervention once it is put into the water July 9. The current record is 78.9 nautical miles (91 miles), set in March by a robot sailboat made by the French engineering institute ENSTA Brest.
Robotic sailboats need human handlers only to enter final destination coordinates. The boats decide routes, perform sailing maneuvers and respond to changing winds on their own. They also generally make all the power they need, through solar panels. They need relatively little energy to move the sail and rudder while the wind provides the propulsion.
(via Robot Sailboat Out to Break World Record : Discovery News)