Recent events, like the devastating tsunami in Asia, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico, accidents involving refugee boats off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, and pirate activities in the Gulf of Aden have clearly emphasized impressively the importance of a fully integrated ocean observation system. Robotic sailing boats represent a rapidly emerging technology for various tasks on lakes and oceans. They offer the possibility of sampling an area of interest with high temporal and spatial resolution at low cost.

The ASV Roboat is the world's leading Robotic sailboat and has been in development by a INNOC research team since 2006. Robotic sail boats perform the complex manoeuvres of sailing fully automatically and without human assistance.

The team won several international competitions including four times the World Robotic Sailing Championships.


  • Intelligent Sensor Buoys: An autonomic sailing boat is completely energy autarkic and can therefore collect unlimited measured data from world’s lakes and seas. In other words this application would make possible that surveying and mapping as well as water ecological studies or recording of fishing resources would be rather cost-effective.
  • Safety on Sailing Boats: This technology can be implemented on sailing ships of any sizes. Similar to the ABS or the ESP of the car this Roboat-System can interfere in dangerous situations and help the skipper to get the ship under control again. The system can also detect when the skipper fell overboard and is able to retrieve him automatically and precisely.
  • CO2-neutral in Transportation of the Goods: Nowadays with the fuel getting more and more expensive and complying with Kyoto standards is getting more difficult, better alternatives for the transportation of the goods need to be sought. The sailing boats are environment-friendly but they require a rather high number of human resource. Here is where the Roboat-Technology comes into play with its autonomous attributes from calculating the optimal itinerary to independently executing the right manoeuvres.
  • Reconnaissance and Surveillance: A Roboat can be sent out to far reaches or dangerous regions. Due to its silent, pilotless and energy self-sufficient attributes the Roboat is a competitive and safe alternative for surveillance of smuggler-boats.
  • The Boat as Sailing Instructor: Recording of countless measured values per second makes it possible to analyse by hindsight every sailing maneuver.
  • Comfort on Board: The sailor can freely decide which board responsibilities are likely to be taken over and which to be transferred to the Roboat-System. This alternative of delegating the ship can be of great advantage for people with handicaps, injured, ill or exhausted skippers or ships with reduced crew.
  • Supply Vessel: Secluded regions with lower number of inhabitants for instance researching base camps on islands can be cost-effectively supplied by the robot sailing boats with equipment, medicine, food or correspondence.