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aXatlantic is about building an ocean going drone. We are aiming at setting the world record for the first solar powered and autonomous crossing of an ocean.

You can follow us making progress in our build log.


Live Tracker

Still in dry dock…

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3D Preview




Hull Optimization

Using Friendship Systems CAESES Software we were able to optimize the boats stability and self-righting ability. In order to do so, 5 design variables were introduced into the parametric hull design.

The objectives in the optimization process were to maximize the righting arm which needs to be as high as possible and to move the center of area (COA) of the righting arm curve (RAC) as low as possible in order to improve initial stability. At the same time the minimum value of the RAC was observed and all designs leading to a negative value were sorted out because a negative value means that they would not right themselves up after keeling over.

The video below shows graphically what happened during the exploration and optimization process that led us to our final design.



It is highly unlikely for a boat of only 2.8 m in length and 0.6 m in width to operate in an environment as harsh and unpredictable as the open seas without being able to right itself up after keeling over. Usually that kind of behavior is achieved by adding weight at the very bottom of a long keel protruding from the ships hull. One of our main concerns is that such a keel is the ideal way to catch as much seagrass, rope, fishing line and other floating objects that might float around the surface of an ocean as possible. At the same time we need quite a big surface on top of the boat to be able to collect enough solar energy to power all the hardware and propel the boat. Such a big and almost flat surface would lead to a perfectly stable position of the hull once flipped over.
The solution we came up with is quite unique but can be found in modified versions in similar applications:

The video shows the center of gravity CG and the center of buoyancy CB while the boat heels over. As long as the forces acting on those two points create a righting moment on the hull it will return to its upright position. If however the momentum becomes negative due to the forces changing sides the boat will continue to capsize and not right itself back up.


Still not convinced? Take a look at our first prototype righting itself up in the kitchen sink.



About Us

Although we are working on this project self-paced it is not too far from what we have learned.

Johannes used to study IT a couple of years ago and is pretty much constantly procrastinating by building almost anything that flys – preferably autonomous and carrying cameras for aerial mapping and 3D landscape scans but sometimes also just a bottle of beer wich needs to be delivered in time. At the time he is doing his masters in Architecture at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany with focus on virtual environments and rapid prototyping.

Heinrich is studying Physical Engineering Sciences at TU Berlin with focus on Fluid Dynamics and Numerical Computation wich is of course a huge advantage when it comes to hull design and hydrodynamical computations. In the last couple of years he has gained a lot of experience in building boats of similar sizes by building a skin on frame Greenland Kayak and most recently a cold molded canoe made from mahogany veneer with a thin core of carbon-olefin composite working together with a friend who is a professional boatbuilder.

2013-5-30_12-10_aXatlantic_1 2015-10-9_2-48_aXatlantic_2 2015-10-9_2-40_aXatlantic_1


Support & Donate

Since we are working on this project self paced and with very limited budget we need your support. If you like the idea and are willing to help us out to get this project done please feel free to leave a donation and watch it become reality!

If you even consider to get involved as a sponsor don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.



We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support in getting the aXatlantic drone to launch!

Friendship Systems with their Upfront CAD, CFD and Optimization software CAESES.



The research group for Dynamics of Maritime Systems (DMS) of the Institute for Land and Sea Transportation (ILS) at TU Berlin.