Solar-Powered Autonomous Boat Ready To Make 2,000 Mile Ocean Voyage


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The autonomous, solar-powered boat, christened Seacharger is will set on a 2000-mile solo, sea-voyage on this Memorial Day. The boat will start off from the Californian coast for its trip to Hawaii on May 30.

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

The work on the design of this craft started in late 2013. Damon McMillan, a BS in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, is the ideator of the Seacharger who initiated this project by gluing more than two dozen pieces of foam, forming a plug for the hull mold. The hull has been designed with the fiberglass covered foam.

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

The boat is 91 inches in length and 22 inches in width. The propulsion system of the boat is powered by a brushless electric motor. A belt drive reduction mechanism is also included in the system to ensure that the propellers maintain a slow and steady spin.

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

Two Renogy Photovoltaic panels atop the hull will charge 50 cell LiFePo4 battery bank. The battery has been placed inside the thruster pod made out of a PVC pipe. The thruster pod hangs below the boat by carbon fiber struts.

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

The autonomous navigation system is Arduino-based. The GPS and the circuitry for the satellite has been embedded between the solar panels present inside a watertight casing. The weight of the craft is 50 pounds and it can cruise along at 3 knots.

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

The solar-powered craft can manage three cloudy days before the batteries are completely drained and need to be recharged.

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

Previously, the crafts like Wave Glider and the C-Enduro had been designed such that their power was augmented by the wind as well as the solar power.

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

 

Seacharger is the first boat powered only by the solar energy to set off on a sea journey.

 

 

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Image Source: Seacharger

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