Autonomous sailing

Autark-Zero will be fitted with a powerful autopilot system. Not only will this automatically set the most optimal sail trim and control the electric pod motors but this can also be done fully autonomously. Human control of the separate sail and propulsion systems is therefore unnecessary; the autopilot will make the correct decisions to sail from A to B in the most efficient or the fastest way. The autopilot utilises a variety of on-board sensors as well as internal and external databases accumulating and interpreting all necessary input to complete the passage.

The autopilot calculates the most efficient and optimal course taking into account navigational charts, shipping channel data, markers, other shipping traffic and weather conditions and controls the rudders, motors and wing-sail to sail the right course. On-board sensors comprise of anemometer, depth/sonar, speed, GPS/RTK, LIDAR-laser and image recognition,etc. AIS and radar/transponder signals are indispensable to track the course of other shipping traffic and prevent collisions. All on-board sensors and actuators/servos are linked with the central computer via BUS-systems CAN and NMEA2000.

External data such as detailed local wind- and weather forecasts, currents, tides, local waterway information and point-of-interest information from other skippers arrive via an internet connection in the central computer that routes essential data through to the Autark-Zero’s autopilot control.
The autopilot runs entirely on open-source hard- and software. The main benefit of using open-source is the large community of users and programmers working together to continuously improve the applications and innovations are quickly integrated. Open-source is also used for data collection. SignalK is a platform and protocol that enables the reading and exchanging of a variety of data/cloud sources. Examples of the data-sources made available through the SignalK platform are chart data, navigational buoys, markers & beacons, shipping channel information, weather forecasts, current and tidal information, ports, operating hours of bridges and locks and user-generated POI’s etc.