Autonomous boat sails into Hawaiian waters to map the ocean floor

Saildrone Surveyor
Saildrone Surveyor(Saildrone)
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 4:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A remotely controlled sailboat that maps the ocean floor arrived in Honolulu on Thursday afternoon as part of its maiden voyage.

The 72-foot “Saildrone Surveyor” was built in San Francisco and made the 2,200 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean to Oahu.

The sailboat’s creators said the craft runs on wind and solar energy and is a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative compared to typical survey ships.

During the 28-day voyage, the autonomous vessel with no crew onboard mapped 6,400 square nautical miles of seafloor.

“This is the first time that an autonomous vehicle has traveled the Pacific and pulled into Honolulu,” said Ocean Mapping vice president of Saildrone, Brian Connon.

“The ability to do these long endurance missions to go out and map the ocean that is only 20% mapped around the world and to do it in an environmentally friendly way is really something that’s important to us as a company.”

The craft will be docked at Honolulu Harbor for the next few days before heading out to map the ocean floor around the islands.

The company who created Saildrone said they plan to build an entire fleet of these boats to map the entirety of Earth’s oceans in the next 10 years.

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