News‎ > ‎


posted Jan 26, 2011, 11:58 PM by Cesar Harada   [ updated Jan 27, 2011, 12:29 AM ]

Anybody working on Protei should know about the Roboat, the current robotic sailing world Champion : 

The basis for the Roboat is a commercial sailboat designed by Jan Herman Linge, the boat type Laerling. The boat was originally created for kids to learn sailing, and therefore safety and stability are the major characteristics of the boat. It has a length of 3.75 m and comprises a 60 kg keel-ballast, which will bring the boat upright even from the most severe heeling.

The boat can carry large payloads such as a battery bank and multiple sensors. Including batteries the overall weight of the boat is 300 kg. Additional payload of up to 50 kg is possible without impact on the sailing behaviour. The sail area of mainsail and foresail together is 4.5 m2. It is equipped with solar panels providing up to 285 W of power during conditions of full sun and a direct methanol fuel cell delivering 65 W as a backup energy source.

The Roboat features a three-stage communication system, combining WLAN, UMTS/GPRS and an IRIDIUM satellite communication system, allowing continuous real-time access from shore. This can be used, for example, to track and navigate the ship, or to transmit information on acoustic detections, to a shore-based command center.

The rudder and sails as well as the tacks and jibes are autonomously controlled by incoming data from various sensors (GPS, compass, anemometer, etc.) on an NMEA200-bus, which are analysed on an onboard PC running Linux.

The Roboat is virtually unsinkable, so the danger of losing the device is small, and any detected system malfunctions can be immediately reported to the command center.

  • Intelligent Sensor Buoys: An autonomic sailing boat is completely energy autarkic and can therefore collect unlimited measured data from world’s lakes and seas. In other words this application would make possible that surveying and mapping as well as water ecological studies or recording of fishing resources would be rather cost-effective.
  • Safety on Sailing Boats: This technology can be implemented on sailing ships of any sizes. Similar to the ABS or the ESP of the car this Roboat-System can interfere in dangerous situations and help the skipper to get the ship under control again. The system can also detect when the skipper fell overboard and is able to retrieve him automatically and precisely.
  • CO2-neutral in Transportation of the Goods: Nowadays with the fuel getting more and more expensive and complying with Kyoto standards is getting more difficult, better alternatives for the transportation of the goods need to be sought. The sailing boats are environment-friendly but they require a rather high number of human resource. Here is where the Roboat-Technology comes into play with its autonomous attributes from calculating the optimal itinerary to independently executing the right manoeuvres.
  • Reconnaissance and Surveillance: A Roboat can be sent out to far reaches or dangerous regions. Due to its silent, pilotless and energy self-sufficient attributes the Roboat is a competitive and safe alternative for surveillance of smuggler-boats.
  • The Boat as Sailing Instructor: Recording of countless measured values per second makes it possible to analyse by hindsight every sailing maneuver.
  • Comfort on Board: The sailor can freely decide which board responsibilities are likely to be taken over and which to be transferred to the Roboat-System. This alternative of delegating the ship can be of great advantage for people with handicaps, injured, ill or exhausted skippers or ships with reduced crew.
  • Supply Vessel: Secluded regions with lower number of inhabitants for instance researching base camps on islands can be cost-effectively supplied by the robot sailing boats with equipment, medicine, food or correspondence.