MAYFLOWER OF THE 21ST CENTURY, THE AUTONOMOUS SHIP CAPTAINED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
An unmanned ship, aiming to recreate the Mayflower’s Atlantic crossing 400 years ago this month, set sail from Plymouth Harbor.
The Mayflower Autonomous Ship will collect data on the ocean and marine life, including sampling plastics.
Captained by an IBM-designed AI-trained robot, it will complete six months of sea trials prior to its two-week Atlantic voyage, using one million nautical images.
The original Mayflower, a 100 foot (30 m) three-masted wooden boat with canvas sails and a top speed of three knots (6 km / h)
The 1620 voyage lasted two months, carrying 102 passengers with a crew of about 30 from Plymouth to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The 2020 version is made of aluminum composite, from the ProMare organization.
It is a trimaran powered by solar batteries, a backup diesel generator, and a top speed of 10 knots.
Instead of passengers and crew, it is packed with technology: Lidar, Radar, Cameras, GPS.
It is able to scan the horizon for potential hazards, make informed decisions, and change course based on a fusion of live data.
The autonomous ship Mayflower has more in common with a modern bench than with its 17th century namesake.
To track its progress, the MAS400 website shows the ship’s current location and status, the course of its voyage, and samples of its research modules.