Our Partners

We would like to thank our partners for their support and confidence in the project

Atlas Scientific


Organisations we cooperate with and support

Göteborgs Universitet

The Story Behind

The idea for the project was born sometime in 2017 when entrepreneur Jonas Blanck read about an engineer in california who had built a small, solar powered autonomous boat in his garage and sailed it to hawaii.

SeaCharger as the boat was called could be followed live via Internet and based on off-the-shelf electronics as much as possible. After reading about the challenges that Damon had in his detailed build blog the research and planning for a similar project got started.

During a few weeks, the first SunChallenger prototype was built and launched with simple and inexpensive boat parts. A lot of the time was spent programming and calibrating the internet-connected autopilot that would control the boat day and night.

The initial goal was to sail 470 Nm from southern Sweden to Stockholm based on a pre-programmed route under constant surveillance via an interface with available image and navigation data. After 7 days of traveling at sea, the decision was taken to return the boat because several components began to wear out and the lack of redundancy.

The work on SunChallenger II began early 2019 with an upgraded, two-hull catamaran with full redundancy using dual engines, a large solar panel array, extended battery capacity and a real-time object avoidance system. The purpose of the project was also expanded to collect advanced measurement data for water and air quality along the Swedish coastline.

SunChallenger II

SunChallenger II

We're excited to present the new SunChallenger II, launched early June 2019.
We're planning a longer journey from Gothenburg to Stockholm during beginning of August 2019.

After some good learnings from the previous project we have put a lot of focus on redundancy and power for this upcoming prototype. Double electric motors with differential thrust and an optional angle steering gives improved maneuverability of the boat and redundancy in the case of a motor failure.

The battery bank is quadrupled with the goal of 24 hour runtime at cruise speed of 2 knots without additional charging. With a larger deck area we've added 4 solar panels for the motors to improve power and get better redundancy.

Computing power has been doubled up and control systems are redundant, using two cameras with live-streaming capabilities and a 360° camera. Internet connectivity has been improved with dual connections/operators and two larger antennas. AIS transponder is installed for safety and tracking.

Specifications: 16 ft Catamaran, 4x 300W glass-glass Solar panels, 2x MPPT solar chargers, 2x 500W electric trolling motors, 4x 12v 80Ah Lifepo4 batteries, 3x Raspberry Pi, GPS, Compass, IMU, PiCamera, IR camera+light, 360° camera, 4G modem, 2x 4G/LTE antennas, AIS transponder, CHIRP DownVision Sonar & Fishfinder, air temperature/humidity/pressure, pH, Conductivity sensor, CO2 sensor, wind sensor, LED Lanterna, Horn, Flag.

SunChallenger I

SunChallenger I

The solar-powered kayak

In July 2018 we launched the first prototype to test out the platform. We also developed all software, autopilot and control systems. A lot of learnings were collected during almost 2 weeks at sea.

Specifications: Sit-on-top kayak, 300W Solar panel, MPPT solar charger, 300W electric trolling motor, 80Ah battery, Raspberry Pi, GPS, Compass, Camera, 4G modem, LED lanterna, Horn, Flag :)

First run with SunChallenger I

First Launch

After a long day of work we finally launched the first test-run with a 12 hour route to Halmstad and back.

Passing The Oresund Bridge

Crossing The Oresund Bridge

An epic moment was when we navigated under the bridge, passing just between some huge tankers.

The Navigation Controls in detail

Navigation Controls

The navigation controls, current route, GPS position and many other metrics are streamed in realtime providing a great experience to followers. Image data is updated at least once per minute and can be browsed historically.

The HUD interface in detail

HUD Interface

The HUD interface show nautical charts, surrounding ships using AIS, sun position, drift and realtime wind and current data. This information is very valuable for navigation planning and collision avoidance.

First test-drive with SunChallenger II

SunChallenger II launch

After a week of building we were very excited to get SunChallenger II in the water and perform some test-drives and navigation tests. Almost everything worked as expected.

Meeting one of our partners from Rexel in Visby, Gotland

Almedalsveckan / Gotland

SunChallenger attended one of the biggest political events with topics around sustainability and renewable energy. Great time to present future maritime technology and meeting some of our partners on the project.