2017 Update – Ada 2.0 Progress

Hello, UBC Sailbot blog followers, and Happy New Year!

We at Sailbot have a bunch of exciting updates for this new academic term which we would like to take this opportunity to share. First, development of our new vessel is proceeding very well, and we have made great strides in designing her new systems, be they mechanical, electrical, control, and software. Second, we will be at the Vancouver Boat Show next week – drop by and say hi!

Our new vessel, currently codenamed Ada 2.0, will operate much closer to home – goals for her include competition in the Vic-Maui Yacht race, as well as intensive local testing and development of a highly sophisticated marine obstacle avoidance system.

Our new vessel will be a more “traditional” boat than was Ada. She will feature a sloop rig, which will allow better performance at a wide range of points of sail. She will also feature a dual rudder, which will decrease the chances of failure by reducing the force on the individual rudders, and by decreasing the size of each rudder, which will passively reduce the chance of fouling. The hull hydrodynamics of Ada 2.0 are based on modified hull designs of successful long-range single-handed racing sailboats, and four hull designs are currently being analyzed with various naval architecture software including MAXSURF and ShipMo3D. This analysis will be finished in late January, and we plan to build the hull using molded composite construction this upcoming summer.

The basic building blocks of our power system have been identified, and our designs have been reviewed by various industry experts from Energus, Solara, Victron and the UBC lab funded by our sponsor, Alpha Technologies. We are currently working on the AIS system and the integration thereof.

Our new electrical and control system will also be highly modular, and will use the CANBUS communication protocol to achieve this. Our reusable communications module will greatly reduce the complexity, and increase the reliability, isolation, and ease of testing of our boat’s new electrical and control systems.

Finally, our software team has been hard at work completely revamping our vessel systems. This past term has been focussed on exploration of and familiarization with these more advanced systems. Our new global pathfinding system will provide more accurate point-to-point navigation, and the new local pathfinding system will accurately model vessel dynamics and will allow safer navigation in hazardous conditions such as harbours. Our obstacle detection will feature a LIDAR – although we so far do not have a unit of our own, we have been working closely with other groups to get data so that we can develop robust capabilities for detecting and identifying multiple obstacles.

We are excited and inspired by the fast pace of development we have been able to achieve – we hope to see you at the Vancouver Boat Show, where we can tell you about this in person.

Gavin Lim (Power Co-Lead), Melika Salehi (Electrical Member), Mahela Cooray (Power Member), Francisco Paz (Solar Power Mentor), Serena Ramley (Team Captain)

Visit from SolidWorks!


Pierre Devaux, Eric Leafquist and the Education Team at SolidWorks came and visited us this month! We were thrilled because we have used SolidWorks in so much of our project. The image that you see above was, believe it or not, made by a then-1st year student on the team who later went on to become a mechanical lead.

You can check out how the above image was made and how we designed our deck to withstanding crashing waves.



Ada 2.0 and 4000 km of Ada 1.0 Travel


Ada’s Journey Continues

Ada continues her journey across the Atlantic, and is currently about 800km from the coast of Spain/Portugal!
She has reached many important milestones throughout her journey:

  • Travelled more than 4000km
  • Exceeded a speed over ground of 12.41 knots
  • Recovered after storm-induced power loss
  • Withstood 50+ knot winds
  • Survived for over a month with core systems intact on the open ocean

We continue to actively work to recover her, and have been generously sponsored by Marine Traffic to provide us with up-to-date AIS data, which we are using to get in touch with shipping lines and vessels. Despite making contact with a couple of liners, we have still had no success in spotting Ada, but our efforts in this regard continue.

New for 2016 – Ada 2.0

We intend to incorporate the lessons learned from Ada, good and bad, into her design, and have made some important progress already.

  • Defined high-level design requirements
  • Built high-level timeline
  • Identified lessons learned from Ada 1.0 in a design retrospective document
  • Networked with new and existing industry mentors to plan formal design reviews
  • Found a new potential challenge with smaller logistical burden – the Vic-Maui Yacht Race (http://www.vicmaui.org/)