Solarcrawler - About the Project

Solarcrawler is a small, solar-powered, autonomous boat which we plan to send on pre-programmed trips of increasing length.  If all goes well during lake and local sea trials, we will send the boat on a long trip in open ocean.  The project started seriously in late 2008 in our respective basements.

As we’re finding out, building a solar-powered, GPS tracking autonomous boat is really complicated.  But, having done similar autonomous boat projects, we’re pretty confident this will happen by late spring 2010.

You may have seen other projects which are inferior to ours: e.g. “PlanetSolar” http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/03/24/planetsolar-boat-to-sail-around-t=he-world/ 

The key difference between that project and ours is:

  • The PlanetSolar boat claims to be able to hold up to 50 humans.  We will not hold humans or any other animals.
  • PlanetSolar will use 180 square meters of photovoltaic cells, whereas our boat will use 0.5 square meters
  • PlanetSolar is run by a crew of humans.  Solarcrawler will be 100% autonomous.
  • PlanetSolar capitalises a middle letter.  So can SolarCrawler.
  • PlanetSolar aims to save humanity by riding around in a solar powered boat.  We would feel bad if our lead acid batteries dropped off [50% chance] and inadvertently swallowed by a dolphin.
  • PlanetSolar is a multi-million dollar project.  SolarCrawler is multi-hundred.
  • You can follow the progress of the PlanetSolar with a ham radio.  You can follow the progress of SolarCrawler on this blog, using Google Earth.  It’s called the Internet.  We would let the PlanetSolar project know about it but we don’t have a ham radio.