AROO: The Autonomous Sailing Robot
An Autonomous Robot for Oceanic Observation (AROO) has been a research
goal of mine for several years and finally I have a working prototype.
The idea of an autonomous sailing boat is not new, and several people
have written web pages and built simple versions before, but nobody has
really run with the idea. I am aiming to design and build a sailing
robot capable of remaining at sea for long periods of time (ideally
around 6 months) before requiring servicing. This would open up a
number of applications for oceanic observation and environmental
monitoring at relatively low cost.
I include a few pictures below to give an idea of what the 1.5 metre
prototype looks like. I have recently heard that I am to receive
funding for the purchase of a custom-built 3 metre version of the robot
(construction to commence in early 2006). The prototype was constructed
on a shoestring from scavenged components from other systems in our
laboratory. It works reasonably well, but is not a thing of beauty in
It sails reasonably well on a small lake in winds up to around 40mph
and waves up to about 30cm high. I have not tested it at sea yet:
partly because I don't want to risk losing it until I have done more
extensive tests in a relatively benign environment (the lake).