Researching how autonomous technology can be applied in the maritime industry, six ship science students from the University of Southampton designed and built the Peruagus, an autonomous solar-powered boat.
Once sea trials are completed, the Peruagus will take on the Microtransat Challenge and attempt to be the first in its non-sailing class to complete an east-to-west transatlantic crossing. Peruagus stands apart from the majority of teams that previously attempted the challenge by relying solely on sustainable solar energy to power its propeller and two rudders.
The Peruagus is also unique in that it’s self-righting – that is, able to recover unassisted from a capsized position. The boat’s hull is made up of a solid foam core sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass. This makes the Peruagus robust, practically unsinkable while intact, and cheaper to build than most boats of similar size.
The Peruagus features an aluminum skeleton that functions as a heat sink to keep on-board equipment cool, and an epoxy keel that provides directional stability. The finished design is modular, allowing installation of weather monitoring equipment, different keels, even different superstructures and power systems.
Peruagus, meaning ‘roamer’ in Ancient Greek, will be using a RockBLOCK to send back telemetry data and to receive waypoint instructions as it makes its way west across the Atlantic with the help of a PixHawk Autopilot.