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Students build autonomous transatlantic boat

Scout is a robot boat designed to sail more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to Spain. The last attempt by a robot sailboat failed after 400 miles.

Scout may not look like much now, but it's designed to take on killer sea conditions.

A group of students is preparing to launch an autonomous boat that will sail more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from Rhode Island to Spain in what it calls the first robo-boat crossing of its kind.

Built by four college students in the U.S. and Spain, Scout is an 8-foot-long propeller-driven foam shell coated with carbon fiber and Kevlar to withstand punishing conditions at sea.

Run by microcontrollers, it's equipped with a GPS system and digital compass for navigation and tracking as well as a solar-powered battery system that can operate the craft for at least 25 hours per charge.

Scout is still being put together, but is slated to launch in June for Sanlucar de Barrameda in Andalusia.

Pinta, an autonomous sailboat, traveled 400 miles across the Atlantic last year before it stopped sending its position while running in the Microtransat Challenge.

The students are consulting with marine engineers and sailors, buying parts online, and trying to raise $2,500 for the project through Kickstarter. Let's see how far Scout gets this summer.

(Via Hack a Day)