Mayflower Autonomous Ship Selects Partners for Transatlantic Research Data Sharing
Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) has selected Iridium and Thales Group as its official communications partner, providing critical real-time communications for the fully autonomous transatlantic research vessel.
In addition to its scientific mission, the unmanned voyage will provide information on the autonomous navigation movement underway in the maritime industry. Iridium will provide Iridium Certus weather resistant broadband connectivity that can help remotely manage vessel operations including command and control, monitoring, propulsion system diagnostics and more.
The Mayflower is a self-sustaining vessel run by ProMare and IBM, a marine research nonprofit, that will take the same route as the original 17th century Mayflower. It will collect environmental data on climate change, ocean acidity, plastic pollution, conservation of marine mammals, etc. The Mayflower is scheduled to go on a trip in June.
Speaking of this partnership, Brett Phaneuf, founding member of the board of directors of ProMare and general manager of Mayflower Autonomous Ship, said: “The Thales VesseLINK 700 powered by Iridium Certus aboard the Mayflower Autonomous Ship provides essential connectivity to link the vital scientific data in real time. from MAS to our team of ocean and climate experts on land. Equally important, it allows us to check in with the AI captain to see how he fares at sea and make a myriad of decisions every day to cross the Atlantic safely. While Captain AI won’t need the development team’s help on the crossing, and while the Mayflower won’t be missed at all, the British team who developed the ship and the software are deeply attached and will worry endlessly as the journey progresses. . Fortunately, we don’t have to worry so much with Iridium’s exceptional communications which help allay our concerns about the ship as it makes the historic crossing.
Don Scott, Technical Director, Mayflower Autonomous Ship, added: “The Mayflower Autonomous Ship is ultimately a research platform, not only for on-board science projects, but also for long-range autonomous vehicles. We don’t assume that we already have all the answers, so we can learn a lot from this crossover. The connection provided by the Iridium system gives us the ability to monitor AI systems in real time along the way and helps us prepare for the next steps in their development. The high availability of communications on the vehicle gives us a much appreciated telepresence on board. “
Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, said: “When the original crew of the Mayflower set sail on a pilgrimage, they took a risk inspired by hope for a better future. The autonomous ship Mayflower serves as a modern inspiration, showing how new technologies can have a long-term positive impact on the global economy and our environment. Iridium is proud to be the official communications partner of this ambitious expedition, ensuring the ProMare team ashore will follow the MAS and receive the data they need. “