Saildrone: a journey through the ocean of data


If you come across an unusual wing-like object in the ocean, don’t be alarmed. It is an unmanned sailboat or fully autonomous yacht that collects information and data related to the ocean. The first such successful project is the solar-powered sailing drone Saildrone.

Sailing drones gained wide popularity in 2018. At that time, such drones were used for the first time a large-scale study of the Arctic, which is known for its harsh climate and inhospitable disposition. Their main task was to study the ocean, as well as to make possible predictions and, if something happens, to warn about actual or potential threats. The first Saildrone Explorer, 7 meters long, was sent to previously unexplored territories. Working in extremely low temperatures, 15-meter waves and winds of more than 100 kilometers per hour, he was able to collect data related to climatic and weather processes, ecology and features of underwater flora and fauna.

As expected, its long-term work was also economically beneficial. After all, studying hard-to-reach places from space is less informative, and equipping a large research vessel is estimated at millions of dollars. But the autonomous Saildrone is a very affordable and reliable way, it can travel tens of thousands of nautical miles, and is in the ocean for up to 12 months. A tough and durable carbon fiber sail mounted on an unmanned yacht works like an airplane wing, and the counterweight at the end of the spar prevents the sailboat from capsizing. In addition, Saildrone uses wind and solar power. Due to the wind, the sail sets the ship in motion, and all the devices on board – navigation systems, sensors – are recharged from the sun thanks to numerous solar panels integrated on the hull and sails.

Already in January 2021, the largest version of the Saildrone Surveyor was launched with a length of 22 meters, with a wing height of 18 meters and a keel of 4 meters. New sonar equipment was installed on board, which will allow mapping the seabed at a depth of 7000 meters! Indeed, until now, more was known about the topography of the Moon and Mars than about what is in the bowels of the oceans and seas. For example, the shape of the bottom is critical to understanding the circulation of currents. The effects of tides on climate, tsunami wave propagation, underwater geology and resource exploration are all made available for study by Saildrone.

So how does it work? Saildrone can get the sailing route even remotely. Moving from point A to point B, he is guided by GPS. With a range of built-in sensors, it can receive data such as air and water temperature, humidity, pressure and solar radiation levels, oxygen content, as well as wind speed and direction, wave height and frequency. Then, using built-in algorithms, it analyzes the information received. As a result, the system sends signals in real time about possible natural disasters, about the appearance of strong winds and waves, the danger of a tsunami or about the first signs of accidents, for example, an oil spill. The drone can also perform very specific tasks that will be useful for the fishing industry: send data on the movement of mammals, measure CO2 levels or count the number of fish in a specific corner of the ocean. Speaking of prospects, it is planned that the drone will be able to search for oil in hard-to-reach places.

Interesting, the Saildrone’s sensors also automatically recognize objects in real time. Over the past three years, tens of millions of images of open waters and coastlines have been collected. And then, using artificial intelligence, this data was combined with information from other sources (radar, AIS, acoustics), obtaining a more complete picture of the studied area of the ocean.

No doubts, the development of unmanned technologies can improve the understanding of the seas and oceans. It is possible that ten years from now, thousands of autonomous vehicles, such as the Saildrone, will be able to navigate the world’s waters, using satellites to transmit the collected information and bringing incredible benefits to humanity.


Imagine the feeling of weightlessness as you effortlessly glide through the water.The British company CudaJet has introduced a device that will allow you to experience such sensations. Wearing it as a backpack, a diver can reach speeds of up to three meters per second and stay in motion for up to 40 minutes. Jetpacks are

A sports car that turns into an airplane with the press of just one button is no longer a fantasy, but a reality.The Switchblade is emerging as a revolutionary mode of transportation that promises to combine the thrill of driving with the efficiency of flight.Samson Sky Switchblade is officially launched.At Grant Country International Airport in

The electric sports company Searider presented its original new product, the Searacer, at the boot Düsseldorf exhibition.The designers were able to combine sharp and agile handling with the instant acceleration of an electric jet ski in this futuristic watercraft.The main feature of the new jet ski is its weight. It is almost three times smaller

The Dusseldorf Boat Show is more of an image event than an entertainment event. Representatives of the world’s largest shipyards come here, new yachts are presented here, amazing technologies, innovative materials and coatings can be seen here. There is a place for all kinds of accessories for boats, active sea sports and travelers. Typical visitors

This year, at the Monaco Yacht Show, the Ferretti Group celebrated the 60th anniversary of CRN; a brand with an incomparable history excellence, craftsmanship and innovation of Italian production. Over the 60 years of CRN’s existence, the company has revolutionized the world of yachting with its sharp ideas and outstanding achievements that influenced not only

Enata Group has developed a military version of its 10-meter hydrofoil called Foiler USV. Enata Marine, a division of the international Enata group Group, specialized in the production of equipment, is expanding its boundaries in the maritime sector. In 2018, the first flying yacht, Foiler, wowed the industry with its avant-garde design and W-shaped keel.

Renowned Italian shipyard Riva completes the brand’s flybridge yacht range, which includes the Riva 90′ Argo, Riva 102′ Corsaro Super, Riva 110′ Dolcevita and Riva 130′ Bellissima.The first boat of the new series of flybridge yachts, the 25m Riva 82′ Diva, has already been launched at La Spezia in Italy. The 82′ Diva project was

The International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF 2023) is being held at the Tuyap Fair and Exhibition Center in Ankara from 25 to 28 July this year. The exhibition is organized by the Turkish Armed Forces Support Foundation (TSKGV) under patronage of the President of the State. During the event, more than 1000 companies from 50



yachtreview magazine buy

Hardcopy + complimentary subscription to digital edition

1 year 640.00 UAH
2 years 1100.00 UAH


300.00 UAH