The unmanned trimaran Mayflower 400 is currently on its second attempt to intercept the first Atlantic crossing of a fully autonomous ship. Due to “a mechanical problem with the generator”, the ship must be taken to the Azores and examined, the people responsible said. They hope to repair the generator and then restart the Atlantic crossing. The technology provided by IBM for Autonomous Pathfinding is not affected. Unlike the first attempt, the Mayflower covered at least half the distance from North America on the second attempt. Whether this will continue remains to be seen.
The full name of the fully autonomous ship is Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS400). Without any publicity, the ship departed the UK in late April and was about to reach Washington, DC on its own. The trimaran is 15 meters long and is the result of a collaboration between IBM and the Austrian Consortium for the Promotion of Marine Research ProMare. According to those responsible, it is capable of scanning the horizon for potential threats, making decisions on its own and changing its course based on live data, even without an online connection. The onboard computer has to process incoming data from cameras, radar, depth gauges, position and weather data in real time.
The autonomous ship was originally supposed to begin its voyage in 2020 to mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower’s Atlantic crossing with the “Pilgrim Fathers” of the United States, but the coronavirus pandemic got in the way. Last year’s first attempt was aborted shortly after start due to a technical problem with the diesel engine, which is really only on board as a backup. The ship is mainly powered by solar power. Dashboard, on which the current position of the ship and images from several webcams can actually be seen, Currently mostly empty, But you can see that the battery level has dropped to 42 percent
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