The First Radio Controlled Robotic Boat – Automaton Boat

According from the shared information about this history of Radio Control (RC) toys, RC has the capacity to allow an object to move by using radio transmitted waves that can control remotely. History likewise revealed that RC platforms had been in existence for over 100 years now.

If we talk about the first radio controlled robotic boat in history known as the “Automaton Boat,” Nikola Tesla is the one who invented and revealed it in public on December 8, 1898 at the Madison Square Garden in New York City during the event called as Electrical Exposition that time. This invented RC boat is the first of its kind in the world and give birth to the countless of engineered robotics.

It owns the United States (US) Patent #613,809 and been part of the history.

Tesla is a known Serbian-American from Austrian Empire (known as Croatia today) and recognized as the “Father of Robotics” because of his skills when it comes to inventing remote control devices such as the “Automaton Boat” he introduced in 1898. This is the world’s first recognized and patent invention of Tesla and had been the key in the continuing advancement of our technology now in terms of producing robotic different items, gadgets and equipments, among others.

Based on history, the idea of Radio Control equipments became evident during the World War II and the German forces use them as part of developing their weapons, particularly their missiles. They want to have RC missiles as well as glide bombers to help them attack their rivals and destroy their vessels. Unfortunately, the Germans did not fully succeed in their objectives and so they need to continue developing other options until the war ended.

Going back the first remote controlled boat in the world invented by Nikola Tesla, he completed this project through his impressive scientific knowledge. To the disbelief of those who witness his creation at the Electrical Exposition back in 1898, they were stunned after seeing his invented boat maneuvering in the water when Tesla started to control the radio-transmitting box.

The Automaton Boat is about 4-feet in length that looks like a ship, with different levers when controlled by the remote box and functional lights. The position of the antenna is on the deck to receive the signals easily and has a screw propeller for its movement when navigating into the water.

Tesla was able to invent a control box without wiring connections to the vessel and it has the capacity to increase or reduce its speed and moving into the direction as maneuvered by Nikola himself. It also has a built-in battery and interesting on-board electronic parts that are moving when controlled using the box.

Prior to the introduction of the unmanned vessel of Tesla, there are recorded data or information about Oliver Lodge who demonstrated the first wireless controlling sample at a distance by using a coherer to create a mirror galvanometer and then moved a beam light through the generated artificial electro-magnetic wave, as detailed through online.

Lodge is a physicist from the Great Britain and introduced such example in 1894 and two years after, William Preece and Guglielmo Marconi improved his work. On December 12, 1986, they demonstrated the refined wireless controlled object at the Tyonbee Hall in London that time.

Same thing with the invention of Nikola, the object has no attached wirings.

The different RC boats these days feature varying designs, sizes, materials, categories and brands on the market. There are those with rechargeable batteries and the others have engines to operate. Moreover, their price ranges may differ based on the popularity of the manufacturer.

Nonetheless, the creation of the Serbian-American inventor is the first in history.








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