Robotic sailing boats represent a rapidly emerging technology for various tasks on lakes and oceans. They offer the possibility of sampling an area of interest with high temporal and spatial resolution at low cost.
The ASV Roboat is the world’s leading Robotic sailboat and has been in development by a INNOC research team since 2006. Robotic sail boats perform the complex manoeuvres of sailing fully automatically and without human assistance.
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.
AMS ROBOAT Q&A
In a collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) has started the world’s first major research program on autonomous floating vessels in metropolitan areas. Roboat will be conducted by researchers from MIT, Delft University of Technology (TUD) and Wageningen University and Research (WUR). The five-year program has a budget of €25 million and is set in Amsterdam.
19 September 2016, Amsterdam
AMSTERDAM GETS WORLD’S FIRST FLEET OF AUTONOMOUS BOATS