Mayflower Autonomous Ship or MAS: Although self-driving cars have been making headlines in recent years, there are other forms of autonomous transportation.
This month, IBM and Promise, a UK-based maritime research organization - will test a prototype artificial intelligence (AI) navigation system before the September 6 argument for an autonomous voyage across the Atlantic like the original Mayflower did 400 years ago .
The original Mayflower ship, in 1620, transported the first English settlers to the United States, traveling from Plymouth in the United Kingdom to present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The autonomous Mayflower (MAS), on the other hand, will use solar and wind energy, along with a backup diesel generator.
The first Mayflower traveled at a maximum speed of about 2,5 knots and took about two months to reach its destination. The upgraded version moves with 20 nodes and will arrive in less than two weeks.
The mission, first announced last October, aims to address all obstacles to navigating a ship, but without human intervention.
The AI Captain, as it is called, will not always be able to rely on GPS and satellite connectivity, and data processing will have to be done in real time. This is why all AI and smart navigation need to be on board, making every key calculation available all the time, essential to business success.
"Calculation is a critical factor in building a stand-alone ship like the Mayflower," said Rob High, CTO of IBM.
"The ship must feel its environment, make smart decisions about every situation and then act in the shortest amount of time - even with the presence of intermittent connections, while keeping everything safe from cyberthreats."
The team behind the new Mayflower has been training the boat's AI models in recent years, using millions of nautical images collected by Plymouth Sound cameras, as well as other open source data sets.
For machine learning, the ship uses an IBM Power AC922 system, which is used in some of the largest AI supercomputers in the world. Along with IBM PowerAI Vision, Mayflower Captain AI is built to detect and locate ships and buoys - as well as other hazards, such as wreckage - and make immediate decisions about what to do next.