The unmanned solar powered vessel just hit a snag en route to New Zealand.
For the ones who doesn’t know what is SeaCharger, it is the first unmanned vessel that will be attempting to be the world’s first vessel to cross the pacific with remote human operation.
Developer of Silicon Valley Damon McMillan said “since the boat seemed to be in good condition when it arrived in Hawaii, and since I didn’t want to pay to ship it back home in a crate, I chose to put it back in the water to see if it could make it to the other side of the Pacific.”
Kiwi GP Neil Hutchison has been involved in coordinating the project from this side of the Pacific.
His son David works for Google in Silicon Valley, and is friends with McMillan, and it was through their friendship that Neil became involved, but it hasn’t been easy.
Misunderstandings with customs about the unmanned vessel meant Hutchison had to fill out forms declaring there was no food or animals on board, and facing restrictions of where SeaCharger could land.
In its current state, however, making it to New Zealand at all looks unlikely, unless it can navigate to a Pacific current.
“It’s like a floating log with a little bit of propulsion,” hutchison says.
“You’ve got to have good conditions or it can’t go where you want it to go,” he added.
With a haka group prepared to welcome SeaCharger, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum preparing a display for its arrival, much has been put on hold for the vessel’s uncertain future.
Operated remotely and undetectable by radar, Hutchison says vessels like SeaCharger could be the face of smuggling in the future, and says New Zealand needs to keep ahead of the prospect.