The Mayflower 400, the world's first fully autonomous ship

May 04, 2021
The Mayflower 400, the first fully autonomous ship, to make its maiden voyage, across the Atlantic The Mayflower 400, the first fully autonomous ship, to make its maiden voyage, across the Atlantic

Vision, United Arab Emirates: - A little more than 400 years later, the "Mayflower 400", the world's first fully autonomous ship, begins its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, soon, from Plymouth, England, and arrives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where it will sail on a course inspired by the original ship, which Brought pilgrims to North America.

The ship has been completely dispensed with its crew, will be controlled by artificial intelligence, and will sail in mid-May 2021, and will travel about 3,000 miles, equivalent to one-fifth of the time it took for the original Mayflower, which transported 102 pilgrims and other passengers in 1620.

Mayflower 400 was scheduled to begin its transatlantic cruise in September 2020 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the original Mayflower, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 50-foot vehicle will take approximately the same route as its old predecessor, but will not carry any passengers or crew.

Pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution and seeking to establish a settlement in the New World when they set sail from Plymouth, England, on September 16, 1620.

Just over 400 years later, the Mayflower will collect 400 important scientific data on the ocean, powered by solar energy, and equipped with an advanced system of cameras and radar to continue learning about its environment.

"Owning an unmanned vehicle provides an unmatched advantage in an" unforgiving environment, "said Rosie Licorish, an emerging technologies specialist at IBM.

"Having a ship without people on board allows scientists to expand the area they can observe," said Likorech.

A team in the UK will monitor the ship 24 hours a day, ready to take control of the vessel if needed.

Built in Poland, the ship weighs 5 tons and is up to 50 feet long.

The innovative ship bears many features of advanced nautical architecture, as it was designed to withstand the stresses and difficulties of long voyages at sea.

Mayflower 400 will collect critical data on whale numbers, sea levels, microplastics in the ocean, and other research topics.

It is intended that this data will be made freely available to researchers.

The ship relies on an AI captain on board, who uses computer vision, automation software and Watson, IBM's AI platform.

An "artificial intelligence captain" has been trained with more than a million marine images to be able to identify ships, bridges, land, wrecks and other hazards.

The captain of artificial intelligence can communicate verbally with other ships in the region, to inform them of their path and coordinates, or transmit any other information during navigation, while the human operation team will program the ship, and the path is determined by the automated captain, according to weather conditions, ocean currents, collision systems and other variables.

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