The concept

The Mariner is a sailboat drone concept powered by the sun and the trade winds. Its deck and rigid main sail are covered by flexible solar panels to propel the craft during the absence of wind. A variation of the Mariner would also feature a Flettner rotor that uses the Magnus effect to save energy while patrolling the seas.


The Background

Imagine if we could create a ship capable of travelling across the seven seas without any fuel, using only solar and wind energy and an artificial intelligence (AI) program! The ship could patrol the oceans, take water samples, and monitor the environment. This idea crossed my mind whilst I was working on the Mitzuchi and Sea-Drone concepts, and I’ve decided to explore it a little more.


How It Works

The Mariner is basically a medium-sized trimaran that would feature all the new technology and innovation of actual sail ships. The ship would feature a retractable electric propulsion system and storage bays in its main hull.

The first thing I wanted to add was a navigational artificial intelligence (AI) program that would control the Mariner and take the ship to various places across the globe. This AI would be in charge of sailing the Mariner, and it would follow orders from its owners (which would most probably be a research institute).

The second thing I planned for the Mariner is a retractable sail that would be coated with flexible solar cells to accumulate energy in order to power the ship by using an electric motor connected to direct drive propeller. These cells would recharge the Mariner’s batteries and propel the craft when there is no wind. I would also coat the deck with solar cells since it wouldn’t have regular foot traffic.

The last thing I wanted is to add a flettner Rotor between the main sail and the head sail. This spinning rotor would generate a Magnus effect, like on a rotor ship, and help save energy. On the rendering with the head sail removed, you can see this rotor.

The Mariner would have good marine cameras, like on the ones on the Sea-Drone, and a small emergency gasoline generator could also provide power to steer the craft if necessary.


What’s It’s Used For

The Mariner would be large enough to transport a little cargo from port to port. The extra space could also be used for research or surveillance equipment. It could also be fitted with a small cabin just in case a technician needs to be on it for a few days

The Mariner would be able to observe and transmit weather data, collect sea samples, and record images and videos during its trips. In fact, it could do a lot of things and it could take many shapes.

I hope you like the idea, and don’t hesitate to comment on it and contact me if you have some idea to push this concept further!


The Designer

The Mariner concept was developed in collaboration with Jan Bujnak, an industrial designer from the Slovak Republic. Jan graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislavia and works as a freelance designer. Jan has also produced the concept images for the Solarfly and the Arrakis.