After a period of Four Hundred and One Years, that the robotic ship, Mayflower left England in a continent sea voyage to far America, a new robotic vessel is set to follow the footsteps.
History was made in 1620, about 4 centuries ago with the sleek, modern Mayflower when it revolutionized marine research in its journey of many miles; Europe to America, a trans-Atlantic voyage which spanned for three weeks, piloted by sophisticated artificial intelligence technology.
Ina new landmark, it was confirmed that another robotic ship has begun that same marine journey June 15, 2021, a namesake of the previous one but now coined the ‘Mayflower Autonomous Ship”, built by IBM, a initiative of ProMare, a marine research organization that is non-profit based.
The journey, initially meant to take off last year, as part of the 400 year anniversary of the first mayflower voyage has now begun and the robotic ship is set to drop at Provincetown, Cape Cod enroute to Plymouth, Massachusetts. The 400th anniversary commemoration was meant to have in its program itinary the British, Americans, Dutch and the Wampanoag natives where the 1620 settlers landed, amidst cries of marginalization in previous anniversary celebrations.
The 15-meter MayFlower Trimaran, which cost 1 million pound ($1.3 million is being thrust into motion by a hybrid electric motor, is laced with artificial intelligence-enabled cameras and many onboard sensors that will collate relevant data on micro plastics, marine mammal conservation and ocean acidification. This is a move that hopes to initiate an innovation of automated research ships, a first in a new generation of high-tech vessels capable of safely navigating oceanic regions that have been hitherto tagged dangerous for voyage.
Spokesman of IBM, Mr. Jonathan Batty, while blaming the delay of its earlier launch on the pandemic and bad weather conditions said the delay gave them the ample opportunity to fit in Hyperstaste, an ‘electric tongue’ on the ship that helps in giving immediate analysis of the ocean’s chemistry.
According to Batty, “It’s a brand new piece of equipment that’s never been created before”.
The new Mayflower ship, barring any last minute hitch of bad weather would take up to three weeks in its voyage across the North Atlantic, would be able to carry items such as rocks, books, and personal photos in its voyage that allows people to follow its trip online.
Marine technology is definitely evolving and rightly so!