If you should encounter a crewless ship out on the Atlantic Ocean in a few years, don’t worry about it being the ghostly Flying Dutchman … it may be the Mayflower, however. No, not the square-rigger that brought Pilgrims to America, but the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship (MARS). Plans call for the wind- and solar-powered trimaran to sail itself from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2020 – the 400th anniversary of the original ship’s journey – carrying out a variety of research projects along the way.
One of the great tragedies of the Second World War has been remembered with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen recovering the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in battle 74 years ago by Hitler’s flagship Bismarck. The brass ship's bell was recovered from a mile and a half (2.4 km) down in the Denmark Straits by a remote operated submersible (ROV) controlled from Allen's private yacht M/Y Octopus.
When we caught up with French high flyer Stephane Rousson at the Paris Green Air Show 5 years ago, in addition to showing off his helium-filled Zeppy 3 sail balloon, he also detailed a pedal-powered personal submarine called the Scubster. In 2011, the Scubster team took part in the International Submarine Race at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in the US, and managed to snag an Innovation Award. Now Rousson and designer Minh-lôc Truong have launched an electric version of the single pilot carbon fiber sub on Kickstarter.
The deep sea is the new frontier for mining, oil exploration, and other industrial activities as they leave the continental shelves for areas miles beneath the ocean surface. Along with this comes greater dangers to the environment, which will require constant monitoring. To provide the needed eyes, Britain's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and partners are developing the BRIDGES Glider. As Europe’s first ultra-deep-sea robot glider, the craft is capable of reaching 75 percent of the world's oceans to depths of up to 5,000 meters.
Slovenian brothers Luka and David Dolinšek have joined forces with their father Jure to create a foldable and eco-friendly boat. Following in the footsteps of the Quickboat, Foldaboat and Transporter, the Origo boat comes flat packed, enabling users to transport it directly to the beach or lake before assembling it in under 15 minutes. The family team is currently launching the innovative boat concept through a Kickstarter campaign to bring Origo into full production.
Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä must be a fascinating place to visit. The company manufactures some of the most mind-bendingly enormous marine diesel engines in the world, like the record-breaking, 89-foot high, 44-foot long, 110,000 horsepower RTA96-C we wrote about more than 10 years ago. Now, Wärtsilä has another entry in the Guinness Book of Records ... for the world's most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine.
Ordinarily, when a ship is heading into waves, those waves cause it to
work harder. An experimental new setup known as a "whale tail," however,
utilizes wave action to actually help ships move forward, allowing them
to use less fuel when tackling rough seas.
While there are plenty of aerial drones that show us our surroundings
from up in the air, there are far fewer remote-control devices that let
us see what's lurking beneath the surface of the water. Although the Aquabotix Hydroview
is one, at around US$3,000 it certainly isn't cheap. While still not
inexpensive, the newest version of the TTRobotix Seawolf is considerably
less pricey – partly because it incorporates the user's existing GoPro
A team from Calvin College, Michigan, is trying to put the "ski" back in "jet ski" with a unique kind of personal watercraft (PWC) that features three skis, a tilting front suspension system and a 650cc engine. Inspired by the dual-ski Wetbike of the 1970s and 80s, and perhaps a little by the bizarre Watercross racing movement, the Jet Blade team has completed prototyping and preliminary water testing.