Autonomous Atlantic Crossing
These days there seems to be a buzz over the autonomous concept. Several companies are developing autonomous cars, Amazon is creating autonomous cargo-carrying drones, and some militaries are even designing autonomous robotic warriors. Here at Angus Adventures, we thought it would be fun to develop an autonomous boat, and strive to complete the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with a robotic vessel. With no humans on board, the boat will steer itself from waypoint to waypoint, it’s digital brain and propulsion system powered entirely by the sun using an array of solar panels.
The concept of crossing the Atlantic Ocean with an autonomous boat is not new, and over the last decade there have been almost a dozen attempts. Various marine institutes, educational institutions and private individuals have been involved in the different quests, and the challenges they have faced indicate it is not an easy goal. All systems must perform flawlessly for weeks or months in a very unforgiving ocean environment.
Our intimate knowledge of ocean conditions and boat design will be beneficial as we design a vessel suitable for the job. Unlike a typical ocean voyage where humans can intervene and fix problems (often very minor problems such as turning electronics on and off or unwrapping a rope from a propeller) all problems will need to be resolved automatically. This will involve creating redundant systems for almost all aspects of the boat – from propulsion to communication.
We haven’t yet decided on the exact route, but it will most likely leave from the eastern shores of North America and be destined for Europe. An alternate route would be to depart from the shores of northern Britain or Norway, and head west to North America skirting Iceland and Greenland.