IBM and ocean research non-profit ProMare have completed and launched the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS), an AI and solar-powered marine research vessel that will traverse the oceans gathering important environmental data. Its main test and voyage will be to travel autonomously from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, much like the original Mayflower, which sailed from Plymouth Sound to the New World in 1620.
The main purpose of the project is to test and validate AI on the edge to drive development of full marine autonomy. The broader implication and residual impact is learning how to enable system-wide automation of a new sector, from manufacturing and sourcing through to the endpoint itself. While fully autonomous commercial vessels will not be in the market any time soon, the initiative is an important proof of concept with key takeaways for what it takes to stand up an autonomous solution, plus the potential transferability of technologies across end m...
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