"Protei" is a fleet of sailing drones, developed primarily to collect oil spills.


Protei, version 003 (2010) (source:

Protei is developed primarily to collect oil spills under Open Hardware licensing by Open_Sailing, randomwalks,  V2_ and Amorphica. Everyone is welcome to join, contribute, modify, produce, distribute the design and share their findings. V2_ is an official partner, till the summer of 2011 the team is working in collaboration with V2_lab on the realization of the first working prototype.

Protei is part of the Open Sailing project and is initiated by Cesar Harada. The first part of the project is financed through crowd funding on

Protei as a fleet of pollution collecting sailing drones, is using existing technologies in an innovative design we can implement on the short term to address the crisis. We are developing a low-cost open-source oil collecting device that semi-autonomously sails upwind, intercepting oil sheens going downwind. The design of protei is meant to be hurricane-ready, self-righting, inflatable, unbreakable, cheap and easy to manufacture for immediate response. The machine we are developing now is Protei_Oil_Spill for collecting spilled oil at sea, but being an open source project, other versions may be designed in the future for other purposes : Protei for the North Pacific Plastic garbage patch, heavy metals in coastal areas, toxic substances in urbanized waterways...

Current oil spill skimming technology could only collect 3% of the DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The health of workers was exposed to cancerous toxic, the boats were expensive and pollutive to operate, they could not operate in bad weather (hurricane seaon) they could not operate at night or far away.

Protei_006 Collaboration Design Process (2011) from V2_ on Vimeo.


  Protei is a technology currently in development that will provide
- Unmanned, no human exposed to toxic.
- Green and cheap, sailing upwind capturing oil downwind.
- Self-righting, rugged, can operate in hurricane time.
- Semi-autonomous : can swarm continuously and far away. 

The research process is iterative and collaborative, version after version we are improving the design and the functionality:
- Test-000 : Preliminary test
- Protei-001 : front steering, RC
- Protei-002 : articulated sailboat, RC
- Protei-003 : articulated inflated sailboat
- Protei-004 : swarm for display
- Protei-005 : on-board control, with Arduino
- Protei-006 : contribute

The word protei comes from Proteus Anguinus which is the scientific name of an Olm, a very long white salamander living in complete darkness, blind but with an acutely developed sense of smell and hearing. Protei is the plural for Proteus, the greek god son and herdsman of Poseidon the god of the sea. God Proteus was known for his "capability of assuming many forms", "mutable". "Protean" has positive connotations of flexibility, versatility and adaptability.

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