sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Boats for Sale MarineBusiness-World Sail-World Racing Cruising Int Magnetic Is RW Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Sail-World.com : Sailing robot Honey Badger that could sail itself around the world
Sailing robot Honey Badger that could sail itself around the world


'The Drone That Will Sail Itself Around the World'    Corey Arnold    Click Here to view large photo

An Orange Pixel flickers on the horizon, sandwiched between the inky azure of the mid-Pacific and the robin’s-egg pale of the Hawaiian sky.

Extracts from a major feature article on Wired on a sailing robot, a Drone called Honey Badger

Richard Jenkins is the first to see it—a sailing robot, which has been blowing our way for a month. We’re in a small motorboat seven miles out at sea, just north of Oahu’s windward shore. Dylan Owens gets the next good glimpse. 'I see the wing,' he exclaims, 'and the tail!'

Richard Jenkins (right) designed the sailing robot; Dylan Owens handles the electronics. - The Drone That Will Sail Itself Around the World -  Corey Arnold   Click Here to view large photo
Jenkins and Owens are the engineering duo behind Saildrone, which in the words of their website is 'a wind-powered autonomous surface vehicle.' On October 1, the 19-foot craft was set loose in the San Francisco Bay with a simple command lodged in its electronic brain: Sail to Hawaii. For 2,248 nautical miles the boat did the rest.

The path it chose happens to be identical to that of the annual Pacific Cup sailing race, and the fastest anyone has traversed this course is just over five days. The single-handed-sailing record is eight and a half days. As Jenkins and Owens look on, Saildrone is about to complete what might be called the first no-handed ocean sail: San Francisco to Hawaii in 34 days. It’s not quick, but then again there is no one aboard to complain.

The journey has included a storm with gale-force winds followed by two weeks of doldrums. During the tempest, Saildrone was reporting speeds of up to 16 miles per hour and angles as extreme as 75 degrees, meaning it was heeled over and surfing down the backside of breaking waves—waves with enough power to snap it in two had they caught the boat in the wrong position. The doldrums were equally worrisome: With no one aboard to scrub the bottom, algae, seaweed, and barnacles might have overtaken Saildrone, transforming it into just another piece of flotsam.

As the vessel sails into sight, I see that it’s a streamliner—a narrow hull stabilized by two outriggers, one on each side. Its 'sail' is a sail in name only; in reality it’s a 20-foot-high, solid carbon-fiber wing. Extending from the back of this wing, halfway up the mast, is a tail—just like an airplane’s. ('That’s a little trick that I stole from the Wright brothers,' Jenkins says.) Above the waterline the boat is painted safety orange and emblazoned with the words OCEAN RESEARCH IN PROGRESS in all caps. The hull is black with bottom paint, and near the bow is the name in a fancy serif: Honey Badger.

The Honey Badger is more than a sailboat and more than a robot, although it’s both of those things. The Pacific crossing is really a test of a new type of sail that automatically keeps itself pointed into the wind, like a weather vane. Adjusting a little tab on the back of the tail—a task handled by the Honey Badger’s autopilot—is enough to maintain the correct course and to angle the wing so it creates forward thrust. There’s no need to employ ropes, winches, or even sailors. The mechanism is so simple it might really be best regarded as a plug-and-play power source. Like a windmill, it converts a ubiquitous natural resource into usable energy.

Its potential goes far beyond record-setting jaunts to Hawaii. One obvious application is to mount the wing on a fleet of sensor-laden drones and send them sailing into the world’s oceans, where they could report on their findings. 'I want to get the data we need to show that global warming is real,' Jenkins says. To that end, they could monitor ocean acidification, a key barometer of climate change.

Drones could replace the world’s weather and tsunami buoys. The waters around oil platforms could be sniffed 24/7 for the first signs of a spill. Tagged sharks, whales, and other marine life could be followed and their locations patched into the international marine-traffic control system with a warning to stay away. Protected borders, coastlines, islands, and environmentally sensitive marine areas could be patrolled by drones programmed to photograph any interloping ships.

What’s more, Saildrone’s technology is so efficient it could potentially power vessels that today require a motor. Jenkins has developed a scaled-up version of his wingsail to propel passenger ferries that ply the waters of the San Francisco Bay. On windy days, the ferry motors would power down while the wings did most of the work. By the time you read this, the ferry wing will be flying from a test sled backed by two government agencies, sailing back and forth along commute routes. Jenkins is confident the test will prove that in only a few years, the cost of retrofitting the ferries will pay for itself in fuel savings.

As we draw closer, it becomes clear that the Honey Badger has made the journey unscathed, and the mood changes from worry to jubilation. 'She looks just like I left her!' Jenkins, the boat’s mop-headed designer, says with genuine surprise in his voice. Owens—who is responsible for Saildrone’s electronics—is similarly relieved. 'This makes it concrete,' he says. 'For the past month it’s just been an icon on a web page.'

On the way into the harbor with the Honey Badger in tow, the men share Budweisers and congratulations. 'I was hoping to find a castaway hugging the back or a tooth from a great white or at least some guano on the deck,' Jenkins says. 'But it’s Honey Badger,' he continues, his cherubic face twisting into the froggy expression that always proceeds a joke. Owens chimes in for the oft-repeated punch line, a quip from the viral video that gave the craft its name. 'Honey Badger don’t care,' and then, with feeling: 'Honey Badger don’t give a shit!'

Sailboats have sails. Aerodynamically speaking, a sail is a wing. But the angle of a sail relative to the air moving across it—the wind, in other words—is controlled and adjusted by means of ropes and pulleys. Tremendous force (and usually a winch) is needed to set a sail so that it cuts through the wind at the correct angle and creates the lift that moves the boat. And then the problem becomes keeping the sail at the correct angle. The boat may turn, which turns the sail with it. The boat may speed up, which changes the speed and direction of the wind passing over it. Or the wind may shift, changing speed and direction all on its own. In every case, the angle must be readjusted manually—that’s what is meant by trimming a sail.

A hard wing on a free-rotating mount is a much more difficult thing to engineer than a mast—a simple pole held up by guy wires—but the payoff is in the actual sailing. By severing all the ropes that run between the boat and the sail on a normal yacht, a lot of the complexity of sailing goes away. In a normal sailboat, every turn of the rudder turns the sail. Not so with a free-rotating wing, which by its very nature is always correctly angled into the wind. Furthermore, dialing in the amount of sideways lift generated by the wing—thrust, in other words—is a matter of adjusting the elevator-like tab on the back of the tail.

How Saildrone Works
The six technology secrets that float this autonomous, ocean-­crossing boat.


The Drone That Will Sail Itself Around the World -  Corey Arnold  


1. The Wing

As wind passes over it, the wing produces thrust. That force is concentrated on its axis of rotation, preventing the wing from spinning wildly.

2. The Tail

A ¬little tab at the back of the tail can be set to the left or right, causing the wing to rotate a few degrees and maintain an efficient angle of attack.

3. The Counter-weight

Positioned at the end of a spar, it adjusts the wing’s equilibrium so its center of gravity is balanced, allowing it to rotate as needed.

4. The Rudder

While in theory it’s possible to operate Saildrone by using only the sail, it’s more efficient to use a rudder to point the boat where you want it to go.

5. The Autopilot

GPS provides speed data and location. That’s all Saildrone needs to know. Navigation instructions reach the autopilot via satellite.

6. The Keel

If Saildrone gets knocked over, it will right itself because of the keel’s weighting. Its steep angle sheds debris like kelp and lost fishing nets.

The morning after the Honey Badger arrives in Hawaii, it’s time to send her out again. The new mission is to spin the odometer past 7,939 nautical miles and thus rob another sailing drone, Liquid Robotics of its endurance record.

Barefoot on the dock of the Kaneohe Yacht Club, Jenkins opens his iPad and drops a few new waypoints into the Honey Badger’s brain—aiming it around the South Pole and toward the equatorial Pacific. If successful, it will be the first drone of any kind to 'circumcise the world,' as Jenkins gleefully puts it. It’s approximately 25,000 miles—10 times the distance to Hawaii—with no pit stops. What are the odds?

'It’s a long shot,' says Jenkins, who points out that Saildrone was designed to get to Hawaii, no more. 'We cut a lot of corners when we started,' Owens agrees, 'because we were paying for it out of our own pockets.' Hawaii was the milestone that Schmidt wanted. 'Every sailing journey that I’ve ever been on has been a near disaster,' says Jenkins, sipping his beer from the bottle. 'We’ll see.'

A month later Jenkins checks on the Honey Badger’s progress for the day. The odometer stands at 6,000 nautical miles, but something looks wrong. Digging into the data he realizes that the sensor that measures the rudder’s angle is sending random garbage to Saildrone’s brain. Salt water must have somehow infiltrated the connection. 'That was the last analog circuit on the boat prone to corrosion,' Jenkins says, cursing himself for not having upgraded it. 'The new version of the boat is all digital.'

Jenkins and Owens start sending commands to the drone and realize that all is not lost. Even without the rudder, the wing should be able to steer it back to port. 'It’s a long way from dead,' Jenkins says. Reviving the boat is a simple matter of swapping the old-style analog rudder encoder with the new-style digital encoder. The only catch is that they’ll have to go to Hawaii to do it.

Another trip to Hawaii? The crew greets the news with a chorus of clinking glasses: 'Honey Badger don’t care.' And then they raise their pints high for their traditional toast. 'Honey Badger don’t give a shit!'

You can read the full article here

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/02/saildrone/


In his Alameda workshop, Richard Jenkins (left) works with technician Vincent Felice and fabricator Damon Smith to build the hull of a new Saildrone. - The Drone That Will Sail Itself Around the World -  Corey Arnold   Click Here to view large photo


by Adam Fisher


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=119402

10:37 AM Wed 19 Feb 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World













4.8 million Legos all at sea by Adam Clark Estes,












In search of the Duroc by Jack Binder, Coral Sea




Dredging activity near corals can increase frequency of diseases by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,




Understanding the Ocean's role in Greenland Glacier melt by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI),


Dangerous conditions for boating on entire NSW Coast by Transport Roads and Maritme Services,


Three Defensive Docking Strategies for Sailors by Captain John Jamieson, Florida


Revealing report on Search for American yacht Nina released *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,








AYSS PacificNet/Tahiti voted a success! by Asia Pacific Superyachts,














Baby Nemos finding their way home by ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies,






Blue Planet Odyssey, around world rally, begins
Africa Europe Cruising Challenge now open for entries
The real ‘Supermoon’ story
Warm and noisy welcome for Oceans of Hope in La Rochelle
Sailor rescued after Facebook call for rescue
Solo sailing star's passion = busy environmental schedule
El Niño (Part 2). Effects on the Pacific Ocean
Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles (Part 1)
Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles, photos
The Galley Guys' favourite shrimp recipe
Dangerous conditions forecast for NSW boaters
Vestas Sailrocket 3 - Over the Horizon
Rescued sailors reach shore after dramatic ocean rescue
Yacht abandoned 170nm north of New Zealand, navigation warning out
Tidal current installations will increase boating hazards
Abell Point Marina looking shipshape
Dangerous conditions for NSW coastal boaters from Thursday
Oceanis 48 at the Sydney International Boat Show
Eco-Sailboat of the future - Catherine Chabaud at work
Calling yachts in the South Pacific - rally to New Zealand
The final touch - which wax should I use on my boat?   
ARC Baltic sets sail to discover Europe's 'east sea'   
Auckland On Water Boat Show to hold world record attempt   
Another boom death. Australian sailor dies, hit by swinging boom   
Galley Guru vital to the life of the cruising sailor   
Auckland Cruisers - seminar on cruising sails   
'Boat Handling in Marinas' by Rob Gibson - and how to get it reliably   
Heart-stopping moment as whale capsizes Zodiac   
Lessons from the West: Great Barrier Reef in danger   
Climate change could stop fish finding their friends   
Vanuatu ups their welcome to cruising sailors with new approach   
Criminal charges mooted for owners of sunk HMS Bounty   
Yachting Australia announces resignation of CEO Phil Jones   
Red faces after authorities inadvertently aid boat thief to get away   
Mobiles drive traffic - 72% increase in Sail-World.com page view *Feature   
New import permit for Mexico resolves impound problems   
Captain Phillips and Obama admin wants pirates' nests eradicated   
Sail Estonia: a VERY new idea   
Tie This 'Lifesaving' Bowline in Seconds - the easy way!   
A Beer Bummel on the Thames River   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW Cru SH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT