There is currently a human-less Mayflower AI robot ship sailing from the UK to the US • The Register
A 15-meter-long, human-less autonomous ship began a 3,000-mile voyage between the UK and the US to recreate Mayflower’s historic voyage of 1620.
The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS), named after the 17th-century ship that carried more than 100 passengers from England to present-day Massachusetts in America, set sail this week. It launched from the seaside town of Plymouth on Tuesday at 0400 UTC, and if all goes according to plan, it will reach its US counterpart, the coastal town of Plymouth, MA, in a few weeks.
Built by Promare, a non-profit maritime organization, with technical support from IBM, the Mayflower has been testing her navigation and navigation skills since September of last year to prepare for this voyage. It uses radar to detect objects within a radius of 2.5 nautical miles and a suite of cameras connected to an object recognition system. This machine learning software has been trained to identify floating freighters, fishing vessels and shipping containers.
The craft also has software that can predict the weight and speed of other vessels to help it avoid potential dangers. A GPS unit ensures that the Mayflower does not stray too far from its course, and the computer system is programmed to take into account the weather conditions as it navigates the sea. Weighing 4,535 kilograms, or five tons, the vessel is capable of reaching a maximum speed of ten knots, or just over five meters per second.
“Able to scan the horizon for possible dangers, make informed decisions and change course based on a live data fusion, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship has more in common with a modern bank than its 17th century namesake “, Andy Stanford-Clark, CTO of IBM UK and Ireland, mentionned this week.
“With its ability to continue to operate under the harshest conditions, this little vessel is a microcosm for all aspiring businesses of the 21st century. “
Mayflower relies on solar power and batteries, and has all kinds of hardware to run various AI software, including four computers with Intel processors, six Nvidia Jetson AGX Xavier GPUs, two Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX cards and some other custom chips. There is a backup diesel generator in case it gets stuck for power.
Mayflower is a research vessel. Not only will it test autonomous navigation technology, but it has been equipped with scientific instruments to take water samples to study microplastics and algae, and listen to whales and other marine mammals.
You can follow the Mayflower throughout its journey here. ®