Robotic Mayflower Autonomous Ship goals to retrace the Mayflower’s journey from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts


SWANSEA, Wales — 4 centuries and one 12 months after the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, on a historic sea journey to America, one other trailblazing vessel with the identical identify has set off to retrace the voyage.

This Mayflower, although, is a glossy, trendy robotic ship that’s carrying no human crew or passengers. It’s being piloted by subtle synthetic intelligence expertise for a trans-Atlantic crossing that might take as much as three weeks in a venture geared toward revolutionizing marine analysis.

IBM — which constructed the cutting-edge, $1.3 million ship with the nonprofit marine analysis group ProMare — stated the Mayflower Autonomous Ship started its journey early Tuesday.

Charting the trail of its 1620 namesake, the Mayflower is ready to land at Provincetown on Cape Cod earlier than making its method to Plymouth, Massachusetts.

If profitable, it will be the most important autonomous vessel to cross the Atlantic.

The brand new Mayflower’s journey initially had been set for final 12 months, a part of four-hundredth anniversary commemorations of the unique ship’s voyage carrying Pilgrim settlers to New England.

Its launch was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, and extra lately, by unhealthy climate all through Could, IBM spokesman Jonathan Batty stated.

Batty stated the delay allowed for the becoming of a novel characteristic of the ship: an electrical “tongue” that may present immediate evaluation of the ocean’s chemistry, known as Hypertaste.

“It’s a model new piece of kit that’s by no means been created earlier than,” Batty stated.

The ship can be carrying mementos from folks at both finish of the journey, equivalent to rocks, private pictures and books.

The Mayflower venture goals to usher in a brand new age for automated analysis ships. Its designers hope will probably be the primary in a brand new era of high-tech vessels that may discover ocean areas which can be too tough or harmful for folks to go to.

The 50-foot trimaran, propelled by a solar-powered hybrid electrical motor, bristles with synthetic intelligence-powered cameras and dozens of onboard sensors that may accumulate information on ocean acidification, microplastics and marine mammal conservation.

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