Our sail and tail sail designs are different than a normal sailboat in that they are rigid airfoils. We make our sails out of balsa wood and cover them in monokote. The skeleton of the sail is made from aluminum rods, and provides a frame for the sail as well as connecting the sail to the tail.
The deck and hull are made of carbon fiber and are designed to be extremely aero- and hydrodynamic. The deck contains the hatches, which are a system designed to be easily removable while remaining completely waterproof.
The LiDAR sensor uses a concentrated beam of light to detect objects up to 100 meters away. Using motors, we can move the sensor rapidly to create a 3D “map” of the boat's surroundings. This is used for obstacle avoidance.
Our sailing algorithm is what makes our boat autonomous. The basic goal of the algorithm is to sail the boat between a series of waypoints. In order to accomplish this, the boat must be able to sail upwind and downwind, recognize when it has hit a waypoint, tack, and jibe.
The ballast is the bulb at the bottom of the keel. It lowers the boat’s center of gravity. When wind causes the boat to tilt, the ballast provides a righting moment to bring the sailboat back to the vertical position.
We design our own PCB every year. The PCB is the heart of the electrical components of the boat. Our PCB connects to 2 servo motors, the LiDar sensor, the IMU, the GPS and XBEE, and the wind vane.