The research team from the Austrian Association for Innovative Computer Science developed fully automatic steering mechanism for their innovative boat ROBOAT making their vision come true – a sailing boat that can cross the ocean autonomously. With wind as the only propulsion, their ROBOAT is able to autonomously navigate towards any given target and the optimal route is calculated by weighting drift coordinates against weather parameters.
The rudder and sails as well as the tacks and jibes are controlled by incoming data from sensors (GPS, compass, anemometer, etc.), which are analyzed using artificial intelligence. In the full-scale application a sailor on board will be able to override the system and switch it to manual control.
In September this year the research team will participate in the second European Championship for autonomous sailing boats in Wales. Their ROBOAT will face the challenge to sail the Irish Sea without human control or intervention. The long term goal of the ROBOAT team is a fully autonomous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean scheduled for 2010. The research team is inviting potential sponsors for both events.