No Skipper Required, Pilot-less Sailboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by brian eiland, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Harbor Wing Technologies is developing a unmaned sailing vessel that makes use of a multihull form and a wingsail. The prototype vessel looks like a Stiletto 30 hull to me.

    http://harborwingtech.com/products_demo.htm

    INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES; FUNDAMENTAL MISSIONS

    The Harbor Wing Autonomous Unmanned Surface Vehicle (AUSV) is unique. Defined by three innovative components: the WingSailTM, the Hydrofoils, and the Guidance System, it will perform a range of critical missions. The design and integration of these components is the product of world class expertise and vision from Harbor Wing's team. By providing situational awareness to operational commanders, Harbor Wing's high-tech AUSV will meet fundamental requirements of military, government, and commercial customers.
     
  2. venomousbird
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    venomousbird Junior Member

    Absolutely amazing. I wish I had one of these with a satelite link up for controls and a live camera feed. A robot that could be sent onshore with an arm of some kind would be cool too. Always wished I had my own droid I could send out to do my bidding!
     
  3. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    pretty bloody pointless really! Great way to waste money and resources in a depression mind!
     
  4. venomousbird
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    venomousbird Junior Member

    I would go a step further and suggest that most military action in general is a waste of money and resources. But having a boat that could go out and scout possible destinations in the real world would be a lot more fun than a video game.
     
  5. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    I disagree. Harborwing has a very definite military role as a surveillance vehicle. It has essentially unlimited persistence and the wing provides a great place to place sensors and communication antennas. It can patrol continuously over a sizable stretch of shoreline, and a modest number of the craft can ensure there is no gap that is out of line-of-sight of one of the vehicles. It's biggest limitation is having the energy available to operate the systems for a long time - no fuel is needed for routine propulsion - and sensors are becoming smaller and more energy efficient all the time. This is one of the dull, dirty or dangerous missions that is not very well suited for a crewed vessel, but is perfectly suited to an autonomous vehicle.
     
  6. venomousbird
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    venomousbird Junior Member

    It's a bit distasteful to hear about any kind of new surveilance equipment. As if any part of this world wasn't being monitored quite enough? There seems to be less personal privacy in this world daily.
     
  7. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    Harborwing is being used to patrol the Pearl Harbor naval base. I'd say that's a legitimate area for surveillance. It's not like it's being used to tap your phone line! And when we're talking a 12m cat with a big wing on it, it's hardly much of an invasion of privacy. More like a neighborhood cop on the beat - able to deter bad things from happening just by its mere presence, with no power to be a threat in itself. And it's a whole lot less intrusive than a bunch of high-powered RIBs cruising around.
     
  8. Hondaen
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    Hondaen Junior Member

    Amazing boat :)

    But personaly, I would use solar cells for powering propulsion.

    Those sails look kinda weak, but maybe it is calmer sea out there than the harsh norwegian sea.. An hour out here, that boat would be at the oceans bottom.

    But then, it is obivoius not this boat design criteria.
     
  9. masrapido
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    masrapido Junior forever

    Very good point. If used as Tom suggested (inside the military harbour), what is the point of having the complex and heavy wingsail, when solar panels and/or a bank of lithium batteries can do the job with much less trouble. And a charging outlet is just a whisk away.

    But, for that sort of surveillance there are better options already in use. HD cameras, sattelites etc.

    And the technology "patented" is already patented by other people, several times over. How did they even get the patent, would be a legitimate question if it were not from the uspto...They do not even check the new patents any more. One applies, pays exorbitant fees and gets the patent after a compulsory waiting period.
     
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

     
  11. masrapido
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    masrapido Junior forever

    Frosty,

    I simply look at this wingsail and see that it does not comply with some basic requirements. The international patenting community, to which uspto belongs, has agreed on some definitions and rules in order to manage patents internationally.

    One of the basic rules says that whatever is the subject of the application needs to have to be a "novel invention and not apparent modification of prior art".

    Now, when you look at the wing as in this webpage, you see something - wing, wingmast, wingsail - that is quite apparently old, known and thoroughly tested device in a variety of already patented shapes.

    Hence, whoever had examined the patent, and approved it, had not done his/her job. There's a whole website devoted to wingsails and wingmasts that lists tens after tens of wingsails designed in the last 30+ years, providing plenty of reference for an examinator.

    What may be novel, and I am unable to see anything that is not already known, is in the way the wingsail is used, and that is a design issue, not an issue for a patent, hence my comment.
     
  12. Hondaen
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    Hondaen Junior Member

    Regarding patents..

    I`m a inventor myself. A new use of a sail or wing like this one, is no new idea. Yes, I find it strange that they could patent this one.

    I reccon they have influence, economical and political in order to get this one trough.

    Is it only me, or does the "sail" look like it have been chopped of a smal airplane? :D
     
  13. Ala
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    Ala Junior Member

    If you were to bother to check the patent, which is easy to do online, #7,461,709 you would see that the patent is for CONTROL of the wingsail not the design of the wingsail itself. And this is just the beginning of many patents that will come from such an innovative R&D effort. No one has ever demonstrated a fully autonomous wind powered only craft in history before. We are not talking about a radio controlled fly-by-wire vessel here. This proof-of-concept boat is tacking, jibing, regulating its speed (in effect reefing) and sailing a complicated closed course on all points of the wind with a cross track error of only 3 meters. It's using commercial GPS with NO humans in the loop with onboard processing ONLY. It senses the wind speed and direction with multiple anemometers, loads being transmitted from the wingsail into the platform with load cells, heal, pitch and yaw with an INU and can keep itself from capsizing! You should take the time to READ their website and become knowledgeable before talking absolute rubbish.
     
  14. Hondaen
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    Hondaen Junior Member

    Well,

    Good work with the auto system. Credit for that. I design PID control systems myself.

    But sails?

    Totaly useless for other missions, like dipping around in the north sea. Surely it can stroll around in calm water.

    That boat is useless in my opinion, mark my words and let us see in 20 years where it is.
     

  15. srimes
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    srimes Senior Member

    I like it, but would like to see how it handels heavy weather. For power I like the idea of a prop and electric motor: generate energy under sail and have power to move when docking or the wind dies.

    That type of sail would be nice on a "trawler."
     
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