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The goal is to create an unmanned sailboat that navigates through a variety of challenges with limited, if any, human control.

Human Powered Sub testing in a pool.

What is SailBot?

Designing and building a 2-meter long seaworthy craft can be complicated enough as is, and when constructing a fully autonomous boat, the technical aspect intensifies greatly. Team members must incorporate (and build upon) their sense of understanding in the areas of aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, ship dynamics, electronics, programming, structural design, material properties, machining, and project management. This friendly competition between schools allows students to apply their engineering knowledge in a multi-disciplinary task that requires mechanical to deal with a highly variable environment.

Engineering students working in a chemical engineering lab.
Kiran Bagalkotkar sitting on the tailgate of a driving simulation car.
Students working on the BOLT motorcycle team.

Who can join? 

Team members represent several departments within the College of Engineering including the Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Science & Mechanics, and Electrical & Computer Engineering. While mainly consisting of students studying engineering, membership is open to any student at Virginia Tech. Join SailBOT!

Recent Awards

The 2019 SailBOT team placed 2nd at the International Robotic Sailing Regatta.

Fast Facts

Team size: About 45 members
Department Afiliation: Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Workshop: Ware Lab

Learn More