Sailing into the Future

// Posted by on 04/18/2014 (1:04 PM)

Richard Jenkins and Dylan Owens have made history by creating the first Sailboat Drone, known as Honey Badger. This electronically controlled Sailboat was programmed to sail itself from San Francisco to Hawaii this past October. The 19-foot craft was set loose in the ocean for 34 days before completing it’s journey to Hawaii.

The Sailboat uses a unique technology developed by these two men that always it to remain balanced through large waves and heavy winds. The sailboat works in a similar fashion as a drone in the sense that you program the coordinates that you want to the Sailboat to sail too and it used the wind and it’s sail to stay on course and navigate to that location. There is no need for ropes, winches, or even sailors aboard this robotic boat.

What does this mean for our future?
Upon my initial read of this article I did not fully comprehend what the Sailbot technology meant for our society and our environment. After further exploration into the concept I was enthused and shocked by all the possibilities this technology holds for our world. One of the largest impacts this technology could have is in the field of shipping and transportation. Current huge freight ships use oil and fuel to ship goods all over the world. If that system could be replaced with the sailbot that used wind technology we could save money and natural resources in this field.

One other large innovation that is mentioned in the article is the transportation of humans. Instead of using ferries, we could convert this system to sailboats and have then electronically programmed to run routes. Ferry systems are very popular in coastal cities such as Seattle and New York City. The amount of money and fuel that could be saved by using wind power would make a large impact in the economy and in the environment. New environmentally friendly innovations in transportation are sweeping the world, and the Sailbot could very well be what is next for our society. While the developers acknowledge that this technology still needs a lot of refinement, I believe that this could be the future of transportation and shipping.

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Kevin said...

I think that this is a really cool idea the could have some great benefits for our society. I think the shipping and transportation market might be completely revolutionized by this idea. It is a much greener option than using big freight ships to transport product, and wind technology is always favorable to using oil when looking at green initiatives. Continuing on the idea of what is “green” about these sailboat drones, I found an article discussing how these drones could be used to combat oil spills. Supposedly, these drones could be programmed to sail upwind while oil spills downwind, which would be “a big idea for a big problem.” The major trouble with oil spills is that it takes so long to make a dent in fixing the problem. Oil spills can be dangerous for humans to engage with, and the longer the oil sits in the water the more damage it can cause to the ecosystem. If we had the ability to launch a fleet of self-navigating sailboats to immediately pick up oil spills, then we could make a large impact on preserving aquatic life. I have attached the article link below:

Thus, this shows that the possibilities for sailboat drones is unlimited. My only concern with shipping and delivery would be that perhaps these drones would be easier to rob. I assume there would be some sort of surveillance technology present on the ship, but it still seems that pirating ships would be more likely to steal traveling material. But nonetheless, this is a powerful step in regards to self-navigating technology, as well as international green initiatives.

// 04/22/2014 at 10:47 am