TAU Team Sets Sail to International Competition

Students gain real-world experience through prestigious RoboBoat event
01 June 2021
TAU sailing team briefing Dean of Engineering Prof. Yossi Rosenwaks. Photo: Shiraz Pashinsky

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, a group of Tel Aviv University students had the rare opportunity this past year to collaborate on a “live” project: The design and construction of a RoboBoat, an autonomous vehicle lovingly named SAIL-IL.


This summer, the 15-student delegation plans to travel with their boat to RoboBoat 2021, a prestigious international student competition. The competing boats must demonstrate maritime manoeuvrability and tackle tasks such as traversing a slalom course and sending a drone to hit a target and have it land back on the boat. The SAIL-IL team, comprising students from the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, will be the first Israeli delegation to compete in RoboBoat.

The TAU Sail delegation. Photo: Chen Galili

Tried and Tested

On a stormy day last winter, the team carried out their first sea trial at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park. The excitement was palpable as the team, their professors and mentors, as well as Engineering Dean Prof. Yossi Rosenwaks, looked on.


Students controlling the RoboBoat with computers. Photo: Shiraz Pashinsky


The feedback was unanimous: Success!

SAIL-IL’s co-captain, student Nadav Sholev, says this project was a great opportunity to apply the theory he had learned in class into practice and to overcome “real-life challenges.”


“Through this project, we are sending better engineers into industry,” says Prof. Yoram Reich of TAU’s School of Mechanical Engineering, who taught the team. “They have experimented in entrepreneurship, real construction and competition against others…as well as worked as a truly multidisciplinary team.”


​​Testing the RoboBoat at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park. Photo: Chen Galili

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