UBC sailbot Ada was recovered off the coast of Florida by a U.S. research vessel. (ADEON photo)

UBC ‘sailbot’ found after 18 months at sea

The boat was en route to Ireland when a storm swept it towards Florida instead

A self-navigating”sailbot” set loose by UBC students last summer has been rescued off the coast of Florida by a U.S. research vessel.

The sailbot, dubbed “Ada” after the first computer scientist and Countess of Lovelace, Augusta Ada King-Noel, was launched off the Newfoundland coast in August 2016.

It was supposed to reach Ireland in what was hoped to be the first sailboat to cross the Atlantic without human help, but was damaged in a storm and the students lost track of it.

That’s until U.S. research vessel Neil Armstrong came upon Ada last week.

Jennifer Miksis-Olds, of the School of Marine Science & Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire, was on board the ship conducting research, and writes about the lucky find in a blog post.

“Late this morning, the R/V Armstrong spotted a disabled autonomous surface vehicle far off the coast of Florida,” said the associate director of research at the University of New Hampshire.

The Neil Armstrong crew picked up the sailbot, strapped it to the vessel’s deck, and headed to Wood Hole, MA, where it is set to arrive on Dec. 15.

UBC said efforts are underway to bring the sailbot back to B.C.


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