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This autonomous boat is trying to cross an ocean using only solar power

This autonomous boat is trying to cross an ocean using only solar power

http://www.techconnect.com/article/3075309/this-autonomous-boat-is-trying-to-cross-an-ocean-using-only-solar-power.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TechConnect%20Daily%202016-05-26&utm_term=techconnect_dailyThe sun is a powerful source of energy. So powerful, in fact, that Damon McMillan is betting his boat can cross more than 2,000 miles of ocean using only its rays.

McMillan is the captain of Seacharger, which is on a mission to become the first unmanned, autonomous boat to cross an ocean using only solar power. It’s a project that McMillan and three of his friends have worked on for two and a half years, after being inspired by a robotic sailboat competition.

Constructing the boat took a lot of trial and error, McMillan says, and at times it seemed an impossible task.

“If I had started believing that I had to get to the end tomorrow, I never would have continued. So it’s always just one step at a time,” he said.

Judging by the intricate design, it’s no wonder the craft took over two years to build. It’s powered by two ultra-thin, 100-watt solar panels and a brushless motor. Batteries store any surplus power, so Seacharger can travel for up to three days without needing more sunlight. A satellite modem, an Arduino-based autopilot system, and some homegrown software help the boat stay on course… read more at techconnect.com