Wave-Propelled Vessel Debuts
By Maritime Reporter & Engineering News
AutoNaut is a wave-propelled vessel for ocean research launched at OI ’14. Built by MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Ltd. for very long endurance autonomous data gathering the 3.5m AutoNaut also harvests solar energy at sea to power its electronics. The new unmanned surface vessel (USV) uses motion from the ocean to propel itself, silently, with stability and zero emissions. Fresh back from sea trials with AutoNaut in Scotland founder Directors David Maclean and Mike Poole were on hand at OI to explain its potential. “AutoNaut is revolutionary,” said Poole, “because it is the first commercial use of a wave propulsion technology that can be scaled from a 1 meter hull to a ship. Such zero emission power, using the energy of the waves to propel a vessel, has great future potential for the marine world.”
In sea trials off Oban AutoNaut’s high tech platform control system enabled it to follow tracks between waypoints within a few meters, automatically calculating the allowance for tide and wind as she progressed at around 2 knots, on all headings relative to the wind and waves. AutoNaut was released to operate autonomously, with control from ashore through 24/7 Iridium satellite communications. She also logged weather and seawater data from sensors installed on the mast and through the hull. The 3.5 meter AutoNaut USV on show in London was built for a contract under the Government-backed Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to develop vehicles, known generically as Long Endurance Marine Unmanned Surface Vehicles (LEMUSV), that will carry out sustained marine research over long periods.