The hull of the Mayflower autonomous ship is currently being built and equipped in Gdansk by Aluship Technology before being shipped to Plymouth, UK this year.
The company will be responsible for all equipment, painting and installation, with the exception of the electronics, which will be integrated once the hull is delivered to the UK next spring.
The Mayflower Autonomous Vessel (MAS), led by the maritime research organization ProMare, will begin its journey on September 6, 2020. It will use Power IBM servers, AI, cloud and edge computing technologies to autonomously navigate and avoid ocean hazards on its journey from Plymouth, England to Plymouth in Massachusetts. If successful, it will be one of the first full-size shipping vessels to cross the Atlantic Ocean and open the door to a new era of autonomous research vessels.
The ship will carry three research capsules containing an array of sensors and scientific instrumentation that scientists will use to better understand a number of key areas such as marine cybersecurity, marine mammal monitoring, sea level mapping and ocean plastics. The work will be coordinated by the University of Plymouth in the UK, which is at the forefront of marine and maritime research, with the support of IBM and ProMare.
According to Professor Richard Thompson, OBE, director of the University of Plymouth’s Maritime Institute, microplastics pose a serious challenge to our oceans. More than 700 species come into contact with marine litter, which extends from the poles to the equator, and it is estimated that the amount of plastic in the oceans will triple in the decade to 2025. The autonomous vessel aims to give us the opportunity to rethink the way we collect data and better understand this global problem.
The UK University of Birmingham will be responsible for the use of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies.