Public Meeting: Autonomous Sailing Vessels

Title: Public Meeting: Autonomous Sailing Vessels
Location: Savin Hill Yacht Club 400 Morrissey Blvd., Fox Point, Dorchester, MA 02125
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2018-09-20

If you’ve been out sailing recently, you may have seen 1 of the strange vessels depicted below or something like them. Sailboats with no Capt. or Skipper or crew.
These are the equivalent of self driving automobiles, but on the ocean. Extensive research is being done on these vehicles. Some of which stated see for very long periods of time.

The pelagic sailing club will present an evening presentation by 2 local experts.

1 of them Michael Sacarny sailed with the club this summer on its main cruise.

Schedule is at the end of this email.



Title: “Developing autonomous vessels for marine research

Michael Sacarny is a Research Engineer in the MIT Sea Grant, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Lab with over forty years of experience developing computer systems and software. His diverse activities in the AUV Lab include enhancing critical systems of REx 4, the largest marine robot in the Lab, as well as charting the Charles River, mapping eelgrass beds with sonar, operating ROVs to collect deep-water corals, and providing dive support for marine photographers. He is an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and a twenty-year member of the Courageous Sailing Center.

Paul Robinette is a research scientist at MIT in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on human-robot trust in time-critical situations. He received the PhD in Robotics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2015. He received the BS in Physics, and BS in Computer Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2008 and the MS in Computer Engineering from the same institution in 2010.


The marine environment presents many interesting opportunities for robotics research. Much of our research is focused on automating some portions of vessel navigation, such as COLREGs-compliant collision avoidance and autonomous navigation of the Charles River to enable easier ocean science sampling. The marine environment also creates an interesting place to test other robotics research, such as human-machine teaming. The presentation will include a discussion of the Aquaticus project at MIT which studies human-machine teaming in a competitive environment on the Charles River. The presentation will also relate some of the day-to-day challenges faced by robotics engineers as they struggle against the marine environment.

Public Meeting begins at 6:30 pm with pizza and a brief social among members, applicants, visitors, and guests. At 7:00 pm a brief club business meeting, Then our presenters. Followed by Q and A. Ending by 9:00 pm

Will Phillips
Past Commodore and Fleet Captain Meetings
Pelagic Sailing Club

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