PlanetSolar Taps Autodesk Digital Prototyping Software for First Solar-Powered Round-the-World Voyage

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- SAN RAFAEL, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) is sponsoring a unique project from PlanetSolar to produce the world's largest solar-powered sailboat capable of circumnavigating the globe.

Based in Germany, PlanetSolar is leading the project to construct the solar catamaran, and Autodesk is supplying the Digital Prototyping technology and training that will help PlanetSolar quickly and cost-effectively design and build it. Autodesk supplied PlanetSolar engineers with Digital Prototyping software from the Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Alias product families along with AutoCAD Electrical and Autodesk Productstream to help PlanetSolar digitally design, visualize and simulate the solar catamaran before it is built.

The project is the brainchild of Raphael Domjan, president of PlanetSolar, who will also pilot the boat. PlanetSolar aims to demonstrate the potential of renewable energies, such as solar power, through technological developments while advancing hybrid and electric-powered means of transport.

"Our planet deserves better. We have to start asking ourselves what tomorrow's technologies will be, and at the same time, offer answers," said Domjan. "Engineers and scientists need to be motivated to develop innovative technologies that inspire people and show that we can achieve the impossible. Autodesk software enables our engineers to carry out extensive testing without wasting time and materials building a costly physical prototype."

"Building an actual prototype of the vessel would contradict the environmental philosophy of the project," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "Our design software helps designers to make more sustainable choices at key points in the design, engineering and manufacturing process. The Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping enables engineers to develop products in an environmentally friendly manner using a minimum of resources."

The Knierim Yachtbau in Kiel, Germany, will assemble the boat. The first solar-powered circumnavigation of the globe is planned for 2010 along the equatorial route. The voyage - which will cover nearly 25,000 miles (more than 40,000 kilometers) at an average speed of 10 knots -- is expected to take about 120 days and set several new world records. Stops are planned in major harbors where the capabilities of renewable energies and solar power will be on display to a wider audience. For more information, visit

About Autodesk

Autodesk, Inc., is a world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk has developed the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art Digital Prototyping solutions to help customers experience their ideas before they are real. Fortune 1000 companies rely on Autodesk for the tools to visualize, simulate and analyze real-world performance early in the design process to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation. For additional information about Autodesk, visit

Editorial Notes:

An interview with PlanetSolar and Knierim Yachtbau is available on the Autodesk YouTube Channel at, and to view an animation depicting the PlanetSolar project, please visit this You Tube link.

Autodesk, AutoCAD, Alias, Autodesk Inventor and Inventor are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.

(C) 2009 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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