A fully autonomous ship called the ‘Mayflower’ will make its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean next September, to mark the 400-year anniversary of the trip of the first Mayflower, which was very much not autonomous.
It’s a stark way to dive home just how much technology has advanced in the last four centuries, but also a key demonstration of autonomous seafaring technology, put together by marine research and exploration organization ProMare and powered by IBM technology.
The autonomous Mayflower will be decked out with solar panels, as well as diesel and wind turbines to provide it with its propulsion power, as it attempts the 3,220 mile journey from Plymouth in England, to Plymouth in Massachusetts in the U.S.
The trip, if successful, will be among the first for full-size seafaring vessels navigation the Atlantic on their own, which ProMare is opening will open the doors to other research-focused applications of autonomous seagoing ships.
To support that use case, it’ll have research pods on board while it makes its trip.
Three to bed specific, developed by academics and researchers at the University of Plymouth, who will aim to run experiments in areas including maritime cybersecurity, seam mammal monitoring and even addressing the challenges of ocean-borne microplastics.