Farnell partners with champion sailor-engineer to reimagine nautical autopilot

Farnell, an Avnet company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, is teaming up with champion competitive sailor Alberto Riva – oceanic sailor, design engineer and Farnell’s brand ambassador – to redesign his nautical autopilot.

Farnell is enlisting the help of its global element14 Community to develop new and innovative ideas through its “Ready for Tomorrow” challenge to help improve the nautical autopilot within Alberto’s boat to achieve higher performances with better cost efficiency.

Members of the element14 Community are being encouraged to share detailed, feasible and cost-effective ideas by May 14 for how Riva’s autopilot could be enhanced to set him up for success for any of his future  cross-Atlantic solo race on an offshore racing boat. .

The nautical autopilot controls two crucial elements: data acquisition and the control of the rudder. Several sensors are connected to the system to perform the vectorial calculation of the wind and gain information about the heading of the boat: IMU compass, wind sensor, boat speed sensor and a rudder sensor. The calculated variables are used to keep the boat on a particular true wind angle or on a particular course. All elements of the nautical autopilot work together to collect data to inform the control system.

According to Riva, the nautical autopilot is a sailor’s best friend, allowing the person steering the boat to adjust the sails, sleep, eat, focus on weather conditions, and be able to move the rudder in the best possible way to optimize speed and efficiency on the desired course throughout demanding multi-day regattas.

“Since Riva is not only a multi-competition winning skipper but also a trained engineer who has worked as a data analyst and on-board electronics expert racing boats, he is a perfect person to team up with our element14 Community,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community and Social Media for element14. “We know our global community of designers and engineers will be able to come up with inventive ideas to further improve his nautical autopilot.”

Winners of the “Ready for Tomorrow” challenge will be announced on May 30 and will each receive one item from the prize pool, which includes a Multicomp Pro MC-120 3D printer, a Multicomp Pro handheld oscilloscope, a Multicomp Pro PC USB oscilloscope, a Multicomp Pro soldering station or a Mulitcomp Pro handheld multimeter.

Community members can share their ideas here on how to best improve the nautical navigation here: https://community.element14.com/technologies/internet-of-things/w/documents/27490/sailing-auto-pilot—competition—ready-for-tomorrow-2022?_ga=2.194169448.492512492.1647257458-447568410.1643622825&_gac=1.216793634.1643823111.EAIaIQobChMIs5Dmk8bh9QIVRKR3Ch2kJAsUEAEYASABEgKPTvD_BwE

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