The kite traction project, straight from the Kitesurf technology aims to use the wind as the sole source of energy for massive cargo boats.
The project, along with the French company Beyond the Sea is a resolutely innovative project in the purest respect for the environment.
INLOC ROBOTICS is awarded with the EUROPEAN GALATEA PROJECT
The principle is simple. Beyond the Sea offers wings of all sizes, capable of handling some or all the energy needed to pull the ship, depending on the navigation area, the performance and characteristics of the boat and the operator’s goals. The Kite, connected to a fixed point of the ship, will be chosen in movement, or fixed according to the desired traction force, all in perfect safety. The control of the wing can be ensured automatically, or manually. Kite works both upwind and downwind.
Even though the concept might seem simple, to create a viable system, many different technologies and skilled professionals must work together:
- Beyond the Sea has developed strategic research partnerships with prestigious engineering schools, Kite professionals, or sailors, all oriented towards Responsible Innovation.
- INLOC Robotics is a specialist in control applications to develop an automatic control system or autopilot which is a must for a commercial use of the technology.
The targeted fields of application of kite traction are all the maritime players: professional shipping, workboat & pleasure boat rental and pleasure boat innovation-minded owners.
This solution will be revolutionary from the point of view of the environment as well as the security and the economy, combining many assets that will make it an essential solution for ships of all sizes.
The project is currently at a stage of development where the first wings have been marketed but the autopilot for larger wings is still under research.
What does INLOC Robotics contribute to the GALATEA project?
In order to carry out this project, it is essential to mix skills and know-how and, to do so, INLOC Robotics will provide the needed know-how developing the control system.
INLOC Robotics is a start-up founded in 2014 who, through research projects and engineering projects offers solutions in the field of robotics and, in a generic way, in the fields of automation and control including the paradigms of Industry 4.0 and IoT. We are based in Barcelona area, Spain.
INLOC offers systems which “intelligently” connect perceptions to actions. Through the development of a control algorithm that integrates current data from the kite sensors, current mathematical model, and an improvement of such model, we will integrate the control laws necessary to implement an automatic control system to the project.
This technology will make transport more autonomous in terms of energy. The boat no longer depends solely on its engines to move forward but has another source of energy which is infinite and non-contaminant: the wind.
The development of technologies includes kite management techniques and an automatic steering system. The kite, connected to a fixed point on the ship, will move or remain stationary depending on the desired pulling force, all in complete safety.
Our system will notably use digitalisation with a set of sensors (kite localization, tether effort monitoring, wind sensor, ship positioning and behaviour, weather information, …), several actuators to interact with the kite through the tethers and computers and algorithms to integrate all collected data and build the appropriate commands to actuators to control the kite to generate the optimized towing capability in the relevant direction according to the ship route.
By taking advantage of the wind, which is a 100% renewable energy, we will reduce the energy needs of ships, while proportionally reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The kite, in addition to helping to propel the boat, makes it lighter by its vertical traction, further reducing total energy requirements. Thus, depending on the desired efficiency, it will be possible to sail without the combustion engine.
By developing an automatic control system, we optimize the solution to make the sailing more efficient and increase its commercial capabilities since it can be used in long range boats without the constant care of the human operators.
The solution will have many advantages:
- Reduction of energy needs and increase profitability by reducing by 20% fuel expenses.
- Reduction of shipping harmful emissions of CO2, NOx and Sox by 20%
- Maximum adaptability on any ship to replace or complement combustion engines.
- Commercial dimension since the autopilot makes it usable in long range boats and improves the efficiency of the system.
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