Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Robot Sailing

The Times Online has this feature about an unmanned boat that is undergoing final preparations before setting sail in the hope of becoming the first robot to cross an ocean using the power of wind - 'By sailing non-stop and unassisted for an estimated three months it will prove the potential for robotic craft to undertake vital research in roles in dangerous and far-off waters':

Pinta has been designed by scientists at Aberystwyth University and will join seven other robotic craft in October in a race across the Atlantic. The race is intended to test the endurance and reliability of robots away from battery chargers and the predictable environment of a laboratory.

The boat is a smaller, cheaper version of a more elaborate robot sailing boat, Beagle B, and is being used to prove that the onboard technology works. If it manages to cross from the Portuguese coast to the Caribbean the scientists who built it hope to risk Beagle B, which cost £40,000, on a long-distance journey.

Beagle B will make its own history during the summer when it becomes the first robotic sailing boat to undertake a dolphin count in Cardigan Bay, West Wales.

Read in full - 'Pinta the robot sailing boat takes on Atlantic challenge'

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