PHOTOS: B.C. research students look to upgrade first ‘sailbot’ at sea

The original vessel launched in August 2016, but was blown off course by strong winds

A self-navigating “sailbot” created by University of British Columbia students has returned safely to Vancouver, after going missing at sea on its way to Ireland.

The boat is being looked over by the UBC students who created it, according to a university news release, and they’re probing the bot’s mechanisms to ensure it doesn’t get lost again.

The 5.5-metre-long, solar-powered “sailbot” started out on a planned journey to Ireland in August 2016, but was blown off course by strong winds and eventually lost at sea, before being rescued by a U.S. research vessel off the coast of Florida.

Despite the failed attempt to make it to Europe, the boat did set a record for the farthest distance sailed by an autonomous boat across the Atlantic.

The students hope that in coming years, the robotic sailboat can be the first to compete in the annual Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race, roughly 2,308 miles long.

Photos courtesy of UBC Media Relations

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