The Austrian fully autonomous, unmanned sailing boat will be setting sail on the 9th of July until the 17th and is aiming to break the current robotic sailing record. The robot designed by the Austrian Society for Innovative Computer Sciences (INNOC) will be sailing around 150 nautical miles during its 100 hour stint without interruption. If successful the robot will break the current record by almost double (currently 78.9 nautical miles) which is held by the research group at ENSTA Brest in France.
During its time in the Baltic Sea the robot will be faced with unforeseen situations which it will have to overcome, planning its route and manoeuvring around any obstacles it might face. This is in aid of a multi-day research project on the study of endangered harbour porpoise in the area. This will be done through the use of an underwater microphone attached to the Roboat, recording the sounds of marine mammals to provide useful information about migration routes, pairing sites and communication behaviours. The aim of using a sailing boat is to allow the robot to pass over the area silently to least disturb the marine animals allowing for a much more representative data set of the collected information.
The Austrian robotic sailing boat is at the forefront of the field, using its on-board computer to store and analyse more than 100 measurements per second. The hopes are that this technology will allow for a variety of applications at sea in the future.
“Because they are energy self-sufficient, in addition to marine biology, these solar energy powered robotic sailing boats can also be used for tsunami early warning systems, search operations, meteorological measurements and the recovery of oil spills”.
— Roland Stelzer, project manager.
For more information, check out the Roboat website.