The record-breaking autonomous journey was originally scheduled to launch last year. The crewless vessel is now in international waters as it attempts to cross the Atlantic ocean to the US in the next three weeks.
The Mayflower project, backed by IBM, aims to aid the development of fully autonomous AI systems and applications for use in a variety of industries such as shipping, oil and gas, telecommunications, security and defence, fishing and aquaculture. Other partner companies and organizations on the Mayflower Project include Iridium, Thales, Red Hat, The Weather Company, Vodafone, Nvidia, Intellisense Systems, and National Instruments, among others.
The 50-ft research vessel, which has no human crew or captain on board, is powered by a solar-powered hybrid electric motor and uses IBM’s automation, AI. and edge computing technologies to assess its status, environment, and mission and make decisions about what to do next while at sea. The ship’s progress can be viewed by anyone via the mission dashboard, which includes live video, maps and data streaming.
The mission – a result of years of work and a global collaboration between marine research non-profit ProMare, IBM and dozens of partners from across industry and academia – is designed to forge a cost-effective and flexible platform for gathering data about the ocean. The autonomous ship will help scientists gather the data they need to advance understanding of key global issues affecting ocean health including ocean acidification, microplastics and marine mammal conservation.
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