Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a small autonomous boat is braving wind and waves to demonstrate the power of solar energy. Isaac Penny and Christopher Sam Soon’s Solar Voyager embarked from Boston on June 1, and they hope it will land in Portugal in October.
Sam Soon and Penny, both engineers, began the project in 2013, with the goal of building a boat from scratch that could travel the world on its own. They aren’t the first to send an autonomous craft to sail the ocean – a 2012 Wave Glider that made the trip was powered by wave energy and financed by the company Liquid Robotics.
The engineers aren’t funded by a major company, and they built the boat themselves. Penny and Sam Soon worked on their Solar Voyager in their spare time after work. According to Penny, anyone can build a craft like they did.