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Autonomous Everything: The First Autonomous Ship Crosses the Atlantic Ocean

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project (MAS400) is a collaboration between ProMare and IBM Research.  The project is also affiliated with the Submergence Group, A U.K. company that “designs and manufactures manned and unmanned submersibles.” (2)

In a recent press release, IBM provided the following description of the fully autonomous marine vessel with an “AI Captain”:

“In a voyage lasting 40 days and conquering approximately 3,500 unmanned miles at sea, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship arrived in North America in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 5, 2022.  Following two years of design, construction, and AI model training, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) was officially launched in September 2020. Fast forward to today, June 6, 2022, we celebrate the completion of MAS’s historic transatlantic voyage from Plymouth, UK to its North American arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday, June 5.  With no human captain or onboard crew, MAS is the first self-directed autonomous ship with technology that is scalable and extendible to traverse the Atlantic Ocean.”  (1)

Fast Company reports that the MAS400 was “originally headed to Washington, D.C., the ship—which is propelled by a solar-driven hybrid electric motor and backup diesel generator, and guided by artificial intelligence, cloud, and edge computing technologies—diverted to Canada last week so the team could fix a faulty generator starter. Later this month, it will continue to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the first Mayflower landed in 1620, before arriving in D.C. in July.”  (2)

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.