An unmanned, autonomous ship will sail across the Atlantic in 2020 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower transporting the first European pilgrims to America.
The Mayflower Autonomous Ship—or MAS—will set off from Plymouth, England in September next year and will be built by a team based in the United Kingdom. The project will also receive funding from IBM, who will provide the artificial intelligence systems.
The MAS can use the on-board satellite phone to contact the shore team if necessary and is capable of making its own course correction.
Project director Brett Phaneuf said, per BBC Sport: “The ship is going to do oceanographic research but it is also an active test platform for artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms for collision avoidance.”
America’s first European settlers set sail from Plymouth in the UK on September 6, 2020, arriving at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1620. It’s estimated the MAS will cut the 400-year-old journey from two months to just two weeks.