If you think self-driving cars are the way of the future, you’ll be thrilled to know that robotic boats are also already in the testing phase and we’ll probably see them in common use sooner rather than later. Last year the US Navy launched its newly commissioned Sea Hunter, an unmanned 132-foot trimaran drone, to monitor submarine movement in the Pacific. A couple of aeronautic/astronautic engineer/software guys launched an unmanned model, Sea Charger, as a hobby. It successfully sailed from California to New Zealand … with just a little help towards the end of its passage (rudder issues, go figure!).
Most impressive, however, is an internationally-sponsored academic project called “Roboat” in which fleets of pontoon boats … think inflatable dinghies rafted together … are being tested in Amsterdam for moving people, freight and even acting as temporary bridges.
It won’t be long until we can set the course, launch the boat, fly to our destination and meet it at the other end. Oh, wait … that would defeat the purpose of cruising, now wouldn’t it?