Mayflower Autonomous Ship To Sail Across Atlantic

By Jason Hall

May 18, 2021

An autonomous ship featuring software developed by IBM will set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in the coming weeks to honor the 400-year anniversary of the original Mayflower voyage.

CNET.com reports the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, an artificial intelligence and solar-powered marine research vessel completed and launched in September, is expected to begin its journey from Plymouth, England to Massachusetts in "early June 2021," according to a webpage for the ship.

MAS has spent several months preparing for the transatlantic voyage, which is expected to take 12 days, and include work with scientists and other autonomous vessels to gather information related to global warming, micro-plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation, CNET reports.

The ship will be led by a team in Plymouth and software engineering from IBM, which will allow it to use radar and GPS to navigate through the Atlantic using six cameras attached to the mast serving as its "eyes" to feed information into an AI image recognition system and avoid oncoming ships and other hazards.

The MAS webpage said the ship is "in final testing and outfitting of science equipment" and its departure window is still being worked out, but the group is "hoping for early June 2021" and expects for "more details to follow."

Photo: Getty Images

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