3D Robotics

Autonomous boat crossing the Atlantic

From Hackaday:

While we may be waiting for unmanned drones to deliver a pizza, there’s already an unmanned ship plying the Atlantic on a transoceanic voyage. It’s called Scout, and it’s the product of about two years worth of work by a very close-knit group of friends.

Scout is a 12.5 foot ship constructed out of foam and carbon fiber loaded up with solar panels, electronics, an electric motor and a SPOT satellite tracker. The team has been working on Scout for the last two years now, and this last week the autonomous ship finally set out on its mission: a 3500 mile journey from Rhode Island across the Atlantic to Spain.

Right now, Scout is just over four days into its mission having travelled 90 miles from Rhode Island on its way to Spain. You can follow Scout on its journey on this very cool live tracking site.

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  • Moderator

    It had been a while since I checked in on Scout. Check out the progress:





    Scout — Transatlantic Autonomous Robot
  • Update from the team

    Greetings Scout supporters-
    Much to the dismay of our sleep schedules, Scout has now been launched and retrieved twice in the past month. The first attempt was aborted after one day due to weather conditions. The second attempt lasted over six days, but unfortunately Scout had to be recovered once again.
    While the first day of Scout's second transatlantic bid went tremendously well, Scout suffered an unknown failure 30 hours into the journey. All telemetry was indicating that power and communication systems were functioning properly, so the team assumed that the failure must have been mechanical. Due to the cost associated to getting that far out to sea (Scout was about 50 miles from Tiverton), the team decided to let Scout drift and hopefully get closer to shore. Thankfully the winds and currents were in our favor and Scout was successfully retrieved near No Man's Land island in an early morning rescue bid on July 10th.
    When we hauled Scout out of the water, it was immediately clear that there was an issue with the servo motor that controls Scout's rudder. After four or five days of pretending that Scout wasn't waiting for us in the garage, we finally did cut her open and immediately smelled the all-too-familiar smell of burned electronic components. It turns out that the control board inside of the servo wasn't capable of handling the sustained loads that Scout's rudder put on it.
    Over the last week or so, we've been talking with experts, hobbyists, and friends to find out exactly how to fix this problem. We've been in touch with engineers at Hitec and Servocity, as well as engineers at Hasbro and the US Navy whom have sent us sketches and advice. There are a number of ideas currently on the table and the team is doing a risk assessment of these ideas to determine the best way forward (hopefully to Spain!) While we are a number of days away from Scout's "third maiden voyage," we will be planning to launch at night to best utilize the battery capacity before the sun rises to charge Scout. We will keep you all informed of the launch schedule.
    For those wishing to view Scout's path on the first and second launches, you can visit www.gotransat.com/firstlaunch andwww.gotransat.com/secondlaunch respectively.
    Photos of the launches, retrievals, and failed servo are available on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ScoutTransatlantic
    We haven't failed, we've only found two ways not to get to Spain.
    Thanks again for all of the support,
    The Scout team
  • Hrm seems strange they are not doing a sailboat since someone has already bagged the powered autonomous crossing record.

  • T3
    It's truly amazed what people can do when they set there minds to it. Hope they steer clear of shipping lanes. That little boat looks like good prop wash for a tanker. LOL. I wish them well and I hope they succeed.
  • https://www.facebook.com/ScoutTransatlantic

    Oh dear - blown rudder servo controller


    Scout- The Autonomous Transatlantic Robot
    Scout- The Autonomous Transatlantic Robot. 2,600 likes · 1 talking about this. A robotic, solar-powered boat designed to cross the Atlantic Ocean aut…
  • A tiny electric solar boat stuffed with a lot of computergeek stuff in the wild atlantic what could possibly go wrong.

  • Glad to see you guys got it back judging from the chart.

    Please post what you found out.

  • I have a Spot device (mostly for the intended purpose) but I have occasionally strapped it to my heli just in case...

  • I think it was around $20.00.

    Possibly SPOT manufacturer cried foul.

    Or maybe they just didn't sell enough of them to justify the cost because it is for such a specific and dedicated product.

    Or maybe they changed the SPOT to make it incompatible.

    But I actually have no idea.

    I do know that the ability to have it be able to broadcast individualized messages at intervals of your own choosing  would make the SPOT much more attractive to our community and the expense is very reasonable for what it would do.

  • Just a thought Chris / Craig, Sparkfun has discontinued making the SPOT shield, and it seems like a potentially Very useful product.


    Might be able to use up a bit of that great improved manufacturing capacity you've got in Tijuana.

    I'd buy one.

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