Updated: Feb 24
400 years after the first Mayflower travelled from England to the Americas, early next year a new Mayflower is going to make the same journey without a crew. The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) uses IBM’s AI and edge computing systems to identify other ships, debris whales and icebergs with an AI “Captain” in control of the vessel. The Mayflower team have spent the past two years training the ship’s AI models using more than a million images collected from cameras and open source databases. This is not the first autonomous ship to set sail. Finferries have already demonstrated a fully automated car ferry and SK telecoms and Samsung have developed a 5G enabled test ship. The MAS voyage is a significant step towards fully automated freight shipping, needing to deal not only with obstacles but extreme operating conditions.