Desperately need a vacation but can’t risk taking time off in the current economic abattoir. Thanks to a group of engineering students at ETH Zurich and Avalon, their robotic sailboat, you may soon be able to enjoy the high seas vicariously while slaving away at a job you never liked anyway. 

Avalon is a self guided sailboat that will make it’s debut this fall in the International Microtransat Challenge. If all goes according to plan, the boat will sail unmanned from Ireland to the Caribbean, with only it’s own on board software to guide it. While the technology is still in it’s early stages, it marks the first step towards a day when you can set your boat in the water, head back to your desk, and be greeted by streaming images of what it would be like to be sailing gloriously through sapphire waters on your way to an island paradise while you calculate P/E ratios in your cubicle. Misting yourself with a spray bottle of salt water and feeling smugly superior to those around you will be strictly optional.

And while sailing by itself is an achievement, Avalon isn’t by any means alone on that front. Now if they could create a boat that was capable of something really impressive – like solving crimes, for example – then they’d really have something on their hands.