Belgian boat sets off on first unmanned transatlantic journey

Belgian boat sets off on first unmanned transatlantic journey
The boat will rely entirely on GPS, sensors and cameras to complete its journey across the Atlantic. Credit: ProjectMahi/Twitter

A Belgian-made boat is currently sailing autonomously across the Atlantic Ocean and could become the first craft to complete the thousand-kilometre crossing unmanned if it succeeds in reaching its Caribbean destination.

Mahi One set off from the western coast of France on July 25 and is bound for the French islands of Guadeloupe, where it is scheduled to arrive in around three months' time.

Created by a team of Leuven-based engineers, the small vessel is equipped with sensors, cameras and GPS. It will depend entirely on these for navigation, as no human interference is possible after its release into the open seas, according to HLN.

The boat is part of a larger project dubbed Project Mahi by the group of engineers, who aim to develop more vessels capable of crossing the Atlantic unmanned.

Mahi One will collect atmospheric and oceanographic images and data during its crossing, which it will transmit to the Leuven-based team.

On July 29, a few days after it set off on its transatlantic enterprise, images published on Twitter showed the first photos captured by the autonomous vessel since its departure.

While the pictures showed the boat in choppy waters, with the team writing that it was being "heavily tested by mother nature," they told HLN that their main concern is not the weather, but floating waste.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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