Automated sails for ships of any size

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Software and hardware framework for shipping things with sails. The initial goal will be to automatically maintain an optimal heading.

Freight is dirty business. It's relatively efficient, but it relies on low grade fuel, and lots of it. Using a large ship as an example--the Emma Maersk, a container ship which can cary 11,000 TEUs, consumes about 1,660 gallons of fuel per hour when cruising. I'd like to make boats that take advantage of the wind to bring that number near zero while delivering goods almost as quickly.

  • Crowded

    pnovotnak04/14/2015 at 07:40 0 comments

    Turns out that a particular hosting company that starts with a "J" has a service in the works called Triton which is weirdly sort of related to this one in an abstract way.

  • I2C Woes

    pnovotnak04/12/2015 at 09:43 0 comments

    Since the initial prototype is going to use the I2C bus on the Edison, the first task I've assigned myself is getting a PCA9685 working with the board. I want to support as many boards as possible, but they all have different I2C modules with unique APIs. This drove me to create a simple wrapper to abstract them so that the bus can become more transparent to the framework. Behold, Pi2c is born!

  • First Steps

    pnovotnak04/06/2015 at 06:58 0 comments

    Still a bit of a thought on a napkin. I've had an Intel Edison kicking around for a little while that will be the brains of the prototype. A breakout for the PCA9685 just came in the mail, and some servos. Got headers installed on the breakout, but haven't figured out how to set the registers on the PCA9685 correctly yet.

    Next steps are to acquire some gearmotors, a GPS / compass / accelerometer and h-bridge drivers for my Edison, and eventually a basic hull to begin working on integrating an autopilot.

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Eric Hertz wrote 04/12/2015 at 03:11 point

I always find it funny how ancient technology seems to completely slip the minds of the vast-majority... e.g. that something like huge cargo-ships could be as common as they are and *not* be wind-powered... yet, I didn't think of it, either!

Combining today's technologies with sailing ships... I dig it.

It'd be an awesome future if sailing-cargo-ships replaced fuel-guzzlers!

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Antibarbie wrote 04/06/2015 at 19:32 point

There is a french company already doing that. Since the people there are IA specialists, the auto-pilot must be using some sort of neural networks (see In any case this is a very challenging project, good luck !

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pnovotnak wrote 04/07/2015 at 03:41 point

I hadn't heard of them, thanks for the link! Looks like they participate in (S @ IL) which I didn't know about. This would be a good place to mingle with other people working on this technology. I could conceivably have a large prototype by June next year, if I can work on it full time with financial support from the Hackaday prize ;-)

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