Robotic Sailboat Attempts World Record

The ASV Roboat, a robotic sailboat is once again setting sail. From  July 9-17, the fully autonomous, unmanned sailing boat will be used within the framework of a long-term mission for the first time, and is set to break the current robotic sailing world record.

As part of a multi-day research project in the Baltic Sea, the sailboat will cover 150 nautical miles and remain on the high seas for up to 100 hours without interruption. The sailboat will have to deal with any unforeseen situations and master the complex processes of sailing – from route planning to maneuvering – without human input. The developers of the ASV Roboat, a research team of the Austrian Society for Innovative Computer Sciences (INNOC) intends to break the current world record of 78.9 nautical miles, held by a research group from ENSTA Brest, France since March 2012.

The first long-term mission of the ASV Roboat will also be used for specific research purposes. In collaboration with marine biologists from Oregon State University, a project on the study of the endangered harbor porpoise in the Baltic Sea is currently being worked on intensively. By means of an underwater microphone which is attached to the boat, the sounds of the marine mammals can be recorded and thus valuable information about migration routes, pairing sites and the animals’ communication behavior will be collected. As the robotic sailboat moves silently, the marine animals will not be scared off and it is possible to observe them undisturbed for long periods.

In the future, the technology of the ASV Roboat can be used in diverse ways. The Austrian research team expects important scientific findings from the first long-term mission of the ASV Roboat. The on-board computer of the robotic sailboat stores more than 100 measured values per second, which are used in a subsequent analysis for the improvement of sailing algorithms.

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