All the talk in tech circles has been about the self-driving car recently, while this incredible innovation has somewhat passed under the radar:
A fleet of autonomous sailboats packed with sensors is already scouring the seas to measure reams of data for scientists sipping lattes at their desks.
Richard Jenkins, an Imperial College trained engineer, is the brilliant mind behind what might revolutionise environmental data-gathering: The Saildrone.
Two robotic sailboats trace lawn-mower-style paths across the violent surface of the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska. The boats are counting fish — pollock, to be specific — with a fancy version of the fish finder sonar you’d find on a bass fishing boat. About 2,500 miles away, Richard Jenkins, a mechanical engineer and part-time daredevil, is tracking the robot sailboats on a large projection screen in an old hangar that used to be part of the Alameda Naval Air Station. Now the hangar is the command center of a little company called Saildrone.