The robotic sailing team from Olin College in Needham was one of 18 teams that gathered last week to participate in the seventh SailBot International Robotic Sailing Regatta, a competition that challenges high school and university teams to create unmanned boats that can follow a course and steer around obstacles without human control.
Pictured: Sims Gautam of the Albermarle High School team from Virginia Next
For five sometimes rainy days, a fleet of scaled-down sailboats zigzagged through the water off Pavilion Beach as their creators watched, fingers crossed, from nearby boats.
Pictured: The team from Aberystwth, Wales watches their boat. Next
Teams came from as nearby as Gloucester High School and Endicott College (pictured here) in Beverly, and as far away as Vancouver and Wales. Most of the teams worked for months on their entries, assembling boats, designing robotic systems, and writing computer code. Next
The SailBot event gave students a taste of what it will be like to work as engineers one day.
“You have a project to do, you have deadlines, and you can hit a brick wall. But you have to get over it,” said Olin College sophomore Victoria Coleman.
Pictured: The Endicott College team watches their boat during the competition. Next
According to one participant, sailboats make a particularly good platform for learning robotics because no matter how much students learn building their boats, the challenge is never complete. Back to the beginning
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