Autonomous Mayflower to cross Atlantic 400 years after original

Mayflower 3

(CHESTER, Conn.) — To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Mayflower's voyage from England to the New World, an unmanned vessel of the same name will set sail next year on the same course, The Next Web reported.

Designed by the not-for-profit research company ProMare, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will navigate the 3,220 miles between Plymouth, England, and Plymouth, Mass. Helming the vessel will be IBM‘s artificial intelligence, featuring a menagerie of machine learning, edge computing, and cloud technologies.

MAS will carry research pods of sensors that scientists will use "to conduct persistent, ground-breaking research in meteorology, oceanography, climatology, biology, marine pollution and conservation, and autonomous navigation,” according to ProMare.

IBM‘s systems are designed to ensure the vessel doesn’t collide with other objects at sea, handles rough weather well, and stays on course. It’s equipped with onboard technology so that it can continue on its mission even if it loses contact with IBM and ProMare.

Solar panels and a single wingsail will provide the energy needed to power the vessel’s motors and charge its batteries for night use. According to ProMare, the vessel will travel at about 20 knots.

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By Professional Mariner Staff