Microtransat 2007: Linux on the High Seas

Aug 24, 2007

A regatta for unmanned robot sailing craft will be starting from Aberystwyth, Wales, in September. "Roboat", a Linux-powered craft by the Austrian Society for Innovative Computer Sciences (InnoC), will be one of the starters in Microtransat 2007.

Roboat's route is calculated by reference to weather data and takes drift into consideration. Sensor data are analyzed to set the rudder and sails. The robot boat is capable of tacking and jibing autonmously.

"From a technical point of view, the biggest challenge this year is mechanical adapting of the new boat, as the sailing algorithms were developed to scale to larger sized craft", said Roland Stelzer, InnoC's President in an interview with Linux Magazine Online.

Size counts: Members of the InnoC Team could easily carry the first competition boat; its successor is designed for the high seas.

The Microtransat program (September 3 through 6) includes a short race over two kilometers, a long race (10 kilometers) and a 24-hour race. The Austrian team is optimistic: "Although competition is getting tougher, we have a good chance of defending our title", says Roland Stelzer. InnoC won the title at the first Microtransat in 2006.

Roboat will be training in calmer waters such as on the New Danuabe and Lake Neusiedl prior to the start. The team will be documenting the race progress on www.roboat.at.

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