• Computational model of vessel
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An autonomous, self-sufficient vessel able to cross the Atlantic under the regulations of the Microtransat Challenge
Group Members
Adam Alcantara, Elettra Ganoulis, Nick Jones, Antonio Mazzone Tur, Julian Niedermaier, Robert Winn
Supervisors
Dr James Blake, Dr Nicholas Townsend
Supporters
ASV Global, BMT ARGOSS, Professor Patrick James
With advancements made in autonomous technologies, automation of the maritime industry is key to the future of the world shipping market. Therefore, the aim of this project is to design, build and test an autonomous and self-sufficient vessel able to cross the Atlantic under the regulations of the Microtransat Challenge. The vessel’s purpose is to operate sustainably on renewable energy. Additionally, the vessel must be able to endure the extreme weather conditions of the Atlantic Ocean.

The design takes a unique approach to the challenge among competitors by being self-righting. The monohull design operates efficiently at low speeds, using solar panels as its source of energy. An innovative construction method was employed to produce a vessel that consisted of two skins of fiberglass filled with a solid foam core. This made the vessel, robust, unsinkable whilst intact, and cheaper than most vessels of similar size. The vessel includes a number of innovative features such as its robust aluminium-skeleton epoxy keel, that promotes directional stability while also doubling as a heat sink to ensure a cool environment for all on-board equipment. It will use differential thrust to steer, and is equipped with two rudders for increased manoeuvrability. The finished design is modular, allowing installation of weather monitoring equipment, different keels, and different superstructures and power generation systems.

The vessel underwent a series of dry and wet tests. The final design was tested in the Boldrewood towing tank and included use of the wave generators to simulate sea state conditions that may be experienced. Additional testing included resistance and powering verification as well as propeller
Self-righting test
Self-righting test
Self-righting test
Vessel piercing the waves
Vessel testing in waves
Computational mesh used for Computational Fluid Dynamics