Robot boat from Tiverton preparing to cross the Atlantic

By: Chelsea Priest

It all started when two best friends from Tiverton, Dylan Rodriguez who was here in New England and Max Kramers who was studying abroad in Spain, wanted to figure out a fun way to keep in touch. Lifelong sailors, they thought, why not a boat? Dylan says, that now, “the original idea has definitely changes from sending him a message to just getting it there.”

For the past three years the two along with three other friends have been working on an autonomous vessel named Scout to make the trip across the Atlantic. If Scout makes it, it will be the first ever autonomous vessel to make the crossing. Brendan Prior, one of the vessels builders and partners, says, “our first goal is to have it break that 60 mile world record which we can hopefully do in two days.”

Once Scout is launched, it will be GPS guided and will send back information every twenty minutes of the 3000+ mile trip. Dylan says, “Scout sends back it's position, course, and the heading. Conditions of the sea, whether it's calm or rough, pH, salinity, barometric pressure, and three temperature readings.

Just last weekend, Scout had a sea trial that went very well which brought some confidence for the upcoming trip. While they have made accommodations for what obstacles they can predict, there is still some uncertainty. Prior suggest, “the biggest obstacles are going to be running into any seaweed and running into other boating traffic.”

Over the next few weeks, the crew will continue to practice with more ocean tests, they'll paint the hull and do any finishing preparations before the Atlantic crossing set to launch in about three weeks. You can follow Scout's journey by following this link: