A not-for-profit project between ProMare and IBM, Mayflower 400 will become the first unmanned vessel to navigate across the Atlantic Ocean. On its journey, the vessel driven by a solar-powered, hybrid-electric propulsion system will study marine pollution, analyze plastic in the water, as well as track aquatic mammals. The the data collected by the project will be offered free of charge.
If you take the human factor out of ships, it allows you to completely reimagine the design, You can focus purely on the mechanics and function of the ship.
No one will get bored or tired or sick on this one. So it can take as long as it likes to do science,Brett Phaneuf
Co-founder of ProMare and Director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project
The onboard “brain” that gives it full autonomy is nicknamed “AI Captain” by the team. It has been trained using thousands of images and collision avoidance rules that it gradually learns from. It makes use of the data received from on-board cameras, radar, sonar, AIS and other equipment to study the ocean as well as navigate in its course.
Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch was meant to take place last year to mark the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the original Mayflower, a ship that took settlers from England to North America in 1620. The Ship is set to sail from Plymouth, UK to Plymouth Massachusetts on May 15th.