UBC robotic “sailbot” rescued after 1.5 years lost at sea



The UBC Sailbot “Ada” — an autonomous sailboat designed and built by UBC students — was launched off the coast of Newfoundland with the goal of crossing the Atlantic, a feat that has been attempted by many researchers but never accomplished.

Unfortunately, Ada didn’t make it.

Hopes were dashed after the robotic sea vessel was damaged by a storm, causing the students to loose track of Ada’s location. Fortunately, this tale of being lost at sea has a happy ending.

Ada’s carbon fibre construction with UBC “Sailbot” team. Photo/flickr

Ada was discovered last Friday far off the coast of Florida by the research vessel Neil Armstrong. The discovery happened during an expedition led by Jennifer Miksis-Olds, a marine research scientist at the University of New Hampshire.

Ada is now on its way back home. Despite not making it across the Atlantic, the boat did set the record for longest distance autonomously sailed across the Atlantic Ocean; Ada had been sailing autonomously for approximately 18 months.


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Adam Nanji is the Content Manager at Vancouver Is Awesome. When he’s not scouring the city for awesome news, he performs as ¼ of local band, Belle Game. Adam grew up in Vancouver and earned a degree in Cultural Studies with a double minor in Communication and Gender Studies from McGill University. He’s passionate about Vancouver’s social issues and local art. You’ll typically find him standing on a corner, contemplating where to eat next. Tell him what you think is awesome: adam@vancouverisawesome.com