A solar-powered sailboat: Counter-intuitive or just good design?

Summary:One of the reasons Autodesk became such a dominant provider of computer-aided design software was its decision early on to seed its software in architecture schools and universities. Now, the company is angling to position itself in the field of green product design.

One of the reasons Autodesk became such a dominant provider of computer-aided design software was its decision early on to seed its software in architecture schools and universities. Now, the company is angling to position itself in the field of green product design.

Its latest awareness/marketing project is sponsorship of a project by PlanetSolar to design and construct a solar catamaran that will be used to circumnavigate the globe during a 25,000-mile, 120-day journey in 2010. The company, based in Germany, will use stops during the trip to promote renewable energy and solar power.

At first I wondered, why does a sailboat need solar power? After all, sailboats under sail are the ultimate green vehicles. But then the words "dead calm" leapt into my mind. And, when there's no cloud cover it certainly is pretty sunny on the ocean.

PlanetSolar is using several products from Autodesk to design the boat including Digital Prototyping features in Autodesk Inventor that will help visualize the impact of design changes. The engineers are also using AutoCAD Electrical and Autodesk Productstream.

Here's a YouTube video about the project.

Topics: Software, Telcos

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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