Artificial Intelligence: Autonomous Ship Mayflower Crosses The Atlantic

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The Mayflower attempted to retrace the sea voyage of the Mayflower, an English ship that transported a group of English families, known today as the Pilgrims, from England to the New World in 1620.

The present-day Mayflower, completely unmanned and driven by artificial intelligence, completed its transatlantic journey, which commenced at England five weeks ago, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, instead of the Massachusetts coast where the Pilgrims landed. Though the AI ran flawlessly there were some mechanical problems, said an engineer from IBM (NYSE: IBM) which helped to build it. (VOA)

The robotic MAS makes historic Atlantic crossing

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) is a 50-foot craft known as a trimaran. The solar powered craft was navigated by on-board artificial intelligence (AI) created by IBM with information from six cameras and 50 sensors. It is capable of speeds on the sea of up to 10 knots (20 km/hour).

Originally scheduled to complete the 2,700 mile journey in three weeks, the Mayflower was delayed due to technical issues.

ProMare, a nonprofit marine research organization, collaborated with IBM on building the ship. On May 30, they had to resort to a back-up navigation computer and plot target co-ordinates for Halifax – at that point the closest US destination.

After a break of a few days at Halifax, the Mayflower will continue onwards to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and thereafter to Washington DC.

Project director Brett Phaneuf said: “The journey she made across was arduous and has taught us a great deal about designing, building and operating a ship of this nature and the future of the maritime enterprise.”

Related Story: Crewless 750-Ton Commercial Cargo Ship Completes A 500-Mile Voyage Successfully

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