Artificial Intelligence: An AI-Enabled Ship With A Chatbot But No Captain Will Cross The Atlantic

The Mayflower 400 is completely autonomous, with no humans on board.

The craft pictured above looks remarkably fragile but a team of researchers from the marine research non-profit organization ProMare in technology collaboration with IBM will attempt to sail the Mayflower 400 across the Atlantic on May 15, 2021. (indianweb2)

Mayflower 400 a.k.a “Mayflower Autonomous Ship” or MAS

Built along with partners such as Aluship, MSubs, MarineAI, Iridium, Thales, Vodafone, Wartsila, Red Hat, Nvidia, and Kawasaki, the MAS is a 15-m-long trimaran (a kind of a yacht) that weighs 9 tons and runs on solar energy.

It is equipped with six AI-powered cameras, 30 onboard sensors, 15 edge devices, and zero humans on board.

Instead, on its bridge, an AI Captain will assimilate data from a number of sources, navigate its route, constantly monitor the status of the ship and its mission, and make other, on-the-spot decisions.

Assisting AI Captain, the cameras and computer vision systems will collaborate with machine learning and automation software to warn of hazards such as collisions and violations of regulations. The Captain will have access to streams of meteorological data for advance warning of storms, high seas, and other maritime dangers.

“Taking the human factor out of the Mayflower has allowed us to completely reimagine the design. Instead of thinking about eating, sleeping, and sanitation, the Mayflower’s engineers were able to focus purely on the mechanics and function of the ship,” the MAS website says.

About Artie

The above high-tech wizardry is not all. For good measure, the Mayflower also has onboard Artie, a seven-armed, octopus-shaped chatbot that is also fully equipped with IBM Watson Assistant technology. Artie was built in collaboration with Chatbotbay and its main function is to keep the world at large updated on MAS and its progress across the pond.

Long term benefits

Apart from the huge publicity from the transatlantic trip, the Mayflower will pay for itself from the ocean data it would select during long-term sea exploration, its ultimate objective. This data would be invaluable for critical issues including global warming, pollution, and mankind’s impact on marine life.

Related Story:  U.K. Plane Manufacturer Plans Pilotless Flight By 2030                                                  

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