An autonomous sailboat robot is a boat that only uses the wind on its sail as the propelling force, without remote control or human assistance to achieve its mission. Robotic sailing offers the potential of long range and long term autonomous wind propelled, solar or wave-powered carbon neutral devices. Robotic sailing devices could contribute to monitoring of environmental, ecological, meteorological, hydrographic and oceanographic data. These devices can also be used in traffic monitoring, border surveillance, security, assistance and rescue. The dependency on changing winds and sea conditions presents a considerable challenge for short and long term route and stability planning, collision avoidance and boat control. Building a robust and seaworthy sailing robot presents a truly complex and multi-disciplinary challenge for boat designers, naval architects, systems/electrical engineers and computer scientists.
Over the last decade, several events such as Sailbot, World Robotic Sailing Championship and the International Robotic Sailing Conference (WRSC/IRSC) and Microtransat have sparked an explosion in the number of groups working on autonomous sailing robots. Many of the challenges in building truly autonomous sailing robots still remain unsolved. These proceedings present the work of researchers on current and future challenges in autonomous sailboat development, presented at the WRSC/IRSC 2014 in Galway, Ireland,
8th – 12th September 2014.