Raspberry Pi Computer To Cross The Atlantic Ocean In Autonomous Boat

Found this on Gizmodo

It’s codenamed FishPi, and I’m already hungry. It’s going to consist of a Raspberry Pi computer, strapped to a solar panel and encased in a model boat that will navigate perilous seas all by itself.

Greg Holloway is the crazy sea dog who came up with the FishPi, and explains his ideas on the Raspberry Pi blog:

Massive 25-foot waves, 100km/h winds, torrential rain, lightning, and the Kraken. None of those things should be put anywhere near a Raspberry Pi. On the Atlantic Ocean all of those are common place, and that is exactly where I’m sending my Raspberry Pi.

FishPi will be powered by a 130watt solar panel, so there will be no masts or sails. The propulsion will run from batteries, charged by the solar panel, and it will utilise a Kort Nozzle to gain maximum thrust from what will be limited power.

On-board will be a compass, GPS and camera so we always know where the little adventurer is on its journey. It’s only a proof of concept right now, but Holloway is confidant it can become a reality. Oh please let it become a reality. I want to watch a model boat cross an ocean all by itself from the comfort of my office chair.

Views: 4962

Comment by Craig Burden on June 27, 2012 at 11:54am

That will be amazing! I hope it all works out

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on June 27, 2012 at 12:46pm

Neat, but I would have used a much different model.  I'm not sure why he chose that one.  The ideal would I think be the 52" Arun class lifeboat model.  It should be self-righting and water-tight.  Something I would think you would want?

If placement of solar panels was a problem with that hull, I would think something like one of the large freighter hulls would be better.  The one he chose seems to be a pretty inefficient hull.

Comment by Andrew Beckett on June 27, 2012 at 2:19pm

I want a 130W solar panel that can fit on the hull pictured above.

Comment by MarcS on June 27, 2012 at 2:20pm

He is talking about proof of concept, meaning standard model boat with autopilot without Solar...

Should be no problem for ArduRover?

When it really comes to the harsh enivironment of open ocean the world looks different. To my knowledge no autonomous boat made it across an ocean... Salt water, wind, currents, dirt...

There is a competition, anyway: http://www.microtransat.org/

Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 27, 2012 at 2:22pm

Doesn't everything we have originally cross the ocean on boats from China?

Comment by Andrew Radford on June 27, 2012 at 2:30pm

Sounds really cool - would be awesome if there was some kind of satellite uplink to track progress.

I suspect with the small model however, it would probably be better to build them cheap and let loose a bunch of them. I can imagine them getting tangled up in old nets and floating islands of Japanese Tsunami bits.

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on June 27, 2012 at 4:00pm

I would say that a waterproof semi-submersible hull with very efficient electric propulsion and a deck supporting a large bank of waterproof solar cells would be the way to go. In Jackspeak it would be "a slow boat to China". LOL

Just a thought.



Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on June 27, 2012 at 4:02pm

TC, yeah, that would be a good idea too.  The boat must be very robust to make the journey.  I don't even know if it's possible.  Any storm and it will just get totally swamped, multiple times.

Comment by James Printer on June 27, 2012 at 4:19pm

What does it matter if it gets swamped, if it floats back after the storm has ended?

Comment by Craig Burden on June 28, 2012 at 1:04am

I would put a GSM modem on it for an uplink, then you can know where it is, if you did it correctly you could have a full read out of its status. I would 100% have a way for it to either flip it's self over or make it able to run upside down too! There is absolutely no chance it will stay upright after having multiple tons of water dumper on it. Also, it can't mt partially submersible, make it a floating submarine, it WILL be fully submerged multiple times I guarantee it! And one more, Thanks to a recent "study" of the Raspberry Pi we now know it can get quite warm. 


Definitely have a passive cooling system, like have heat sinks on the CPU that extend out of the vessel into the water. The worlds largest water cooling system :)


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