The sailing goes straight to the modern age. The sailors take off on Foils, the sofa athletes can test their tactical sailing skills by eSailing in the dry, and the organization on the water will probably be relieved in the future by drones, which replace the conventional railway brands.
At Kieler Woche, the autonomous buoys “Roboboj” were used for the first time for the Audi e-tron Cup. They seek their position via app, make motorboat missions and anchor maneuvers superfluous and thus enable a fast construction and reconstruction of the train.
The e-tons on their way to their location on the train. Photo: R. Walch / Audi
For the Swiss development, the Kiel Week mission was the baptism of fire on the sea. Previously, the tons have proven their operational capability on the Swiss Lakes at the Match Race and the league events. The two developers and promoters Kai Äff and Mark Blaesi are convinced that their product is ready for series production and want to go into industrial production in autumn.
At the premiere of the smart tonnage system in March on Lake Maggiore for Match Race Switzerland, the designers still had traditional buoys in the hindquarters. But they were not needed. And so the system provided below for the Swiss league for fast work on the water. The increase in effectiveness of the organization was so enormous that at the league appearance in Kreuzlingen / Bodensee the 42 races were already completed after one and a half instead of the planned two and a half days.
The design of the driven by electric motor tons by smartphone app. Compass course and distance of the windward are entered by the race director, and then the mark makes itself independently on the way. The drain barrel gets its distance to the windward ton programmed, and also the gate learns its “task” by the specification of the race committee. Even the laying out of an exact starting line is no longer a problem with the system, because an anemometer is integrated in the railway brands.
How fast the rebuilding of the railway brands with the Roboboj runs, the race committee could learn before Kiel. With four buoys, the Swiss had traveled to Kiel. But five were needed for the Audi e-tron Cup. No problem, because the take-off has been given a double function. After the start, the pin end turned to the gate bin. “I had just turned around and wanted to ask Kai if everything worked out, there was the buoy already on position,” said Mark Blaesi pleased about the successful demonstration.
Holding the position is much better with modern technology than with conventional buoys. While the latter swayed by wind and waves along the long anchor chain, the Roboboj compares the specifications with the actual data and corrects itself. GPS in combination with magnetic and electric compass field forms the basis for narrowing the drone’s “working range” to two and a half meters is. The programmers even need to artificially reduce the correction speed of Roboboj so that it is closer to the usual characteristics of a conventional bin.
According to Äff and Blaesi, long working days are no problem for their development. The battery of the 100 kg device is enough for a whole regatta weekend before it has to be plugged in again.
In the next weeks we will finalize which features the tons contain as standard, which they should get as an option. In addition to a wind measuring system, the installation of a camera is possible, which goes on the arrival of the regatta controller on the air. The unit costs in production are therefore not exactly fixed, but in the lower five-digit range, they will probably be. But the regatta organizers can save permanent staff and fuel costs.
After Kiel, the Swiss would like to come back in the coming year. Not only because they were full of praise for the friendliness of the North Germans, but above all to equip the Kieler Woche 2019 three or four official regatta tracks with their system.