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Robotics Transportation

Robotic Boat Hits 1,000-Mile Mark In Transatlantic Crossing 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-christopher-columbus-had-an-arduino-and-GPS dept.
toygeek writes "'Scout,' a 4-meter-long autonomous boat built by a group of young DIYers, is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It is traveling from Rhode Island, where it launched on 24 August, to Spain, where all being well it will arrive in a few months' time. Scout has now gone about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of its planned 3,700-mile (5,900 kilometer) journey. Should it complete this voyage successfully, its passage will arguably belong in the history books."
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Robotic Boat Hits 1,000-Mile Mark In Transatlantic Crossing

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  • History books?!?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2013 @03:23PM (#44980629)

    Talk about a delusions of grandeur. A boat with a computer floated across the ocean.

    Meanwhile, space probes have been going to other planets for more than half a century.

    Somebody is WAAAAY too easily impressed. It's a cool achievment? But historic?!?!?!

  • Re:Cargo size? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2013 @04:16PM (#44980951)

    They would need weaponized autonomous vehicles though. Otherwise the other drug runners would steal from them by capturing their autonomous vehicle. They would need to be hardened from a computer / radio front so that they can't simply be "hacked" to go to a different destination and they would need to be hardened to physical assault so that crazies in rubber boats wouldn't come steal the drugs or simply grab the whole unit.

    Submersibles would be one way to eliminate one of those larger issues of being seen, drifting just below the surface to still enable comms.

    The harder part would be hardening the computer/radio, for all radio signals are eventually found, and could likely be pinpointed.

    This will likely feed the next-gen autonomous submersibles equipped with encrypting radio hardware that beacon out sync signals at random intervals and on various frequencies to avoid detection.

    (And you thought the military were the ones advancing tech. Nah. It's usually drugs and porn. No, seriously.)

  • by jcochran (309950) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @04:20PM (#44980975)

    I think that they might have issues with tracking. Or else there's something really, really screwy going on with their boat. Over a period of about 855 hours, the boat has traveled 1383 miles for an average speed of a bit over 1 mph. However, the "real time" tracking page has more than a few data points claiming outrageous speeds, like 95 mph over a 20 minute span. That figure is only the highest I saw. Also saw a few over 70 mph.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @06:42PM (#44981899)
    Speaking of which, I have some serious questions about some of their design decisions.

    Example: it has a square stern, even though there is no necessity for a motor mount or the like. A rudder, sure, but that does not prevent the construction of a "boat tail" design, which is arguably much more efficient.

    The slanted deck puzzled me at first, until I realized that it was for the solar panels, being in the North Atlantic.

    The reverse direction of the bow does have me puzzled, though. It would seem to tend to drive the tip underwater (even if just a little), which could be a significant additional source of drag.

    I saw no provision for bilge drainage or pump at all; presumably they have a lot of confidence in their waterproofing (motor shaft, rudder controls such as cable or rods). If I had done the design this would have been a very important consideration. It is an obvious potential point of failure. Even if your motor and electronics continue to function, if your hull fills with water you will be going slow indeed.

    And the bilge issues is not just something "I didn't notice". It's baked into the design. There is no provision at the bottom of the bulkheads for water to move at all, for example. You don't see that in "real world" boats. Not even in submarines.

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