ITV NEWS - 15th JUNE 2021

 

Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site or return HOME

 

ITN News 15th July 2021 Mayflower ship starts journey from Plymouth to Cape Cod without anyone onboard

 

 

MAYFLOWER ATLANTIC VOYAGE - The Mayflower's direction of travel is the reverse of the Scout and Voyager autonomous Atlantic attempts that took advantage of trade winds. The Mayflower will be heading into prevailing winds and currents. If sail powered, she would need to tack. But powered by a diesel engine, with support from the deck mounted solar panels, there may be no need for that - except, that we saw her struggling when out at sea. Energy from nature is used to power the onboard AI and satellite comms. Many media reports inaccurately refer to wind power as a feature of the MAS, but you can plainly see that there is no wind turbine or wing-sail. Lidar, Cameras and Radar are commonly used to navigate reaper drones, robotaxis and driver-less trucks. There is no reason why such a system should not perform well on the high seas.

 



MAYFLOWER SHIP STARTS JOURNEY FROM PLYMOUTH TO CAPE COD WITHOUT ANYONE ONBOARD

The robotic Mayflower ship has set sail from Plymouth as it bids to become the largest-ever autonomous vessel to cross the ocean.

The 1million ship left Plymouth on Tuesday 15 June and is heading towards Provincetown in Cape Cod, which is on the east coast of America.

The grassroots initiative was set up last year and the new Mayflower was officially christened 400 years to the day after the original Mayflower left Plymouth.

The historic ship carried Pilgrim settlers to America - but its new vessel has no crew or passengers onboard.

Built by non-profit marine research organisation ProMare and computing giant IBM, the vessel is packed with instruments to measure ocean health.

It has a "tongue" to taste seawater chemicals and an acoustic payload to listen for whales and dolphins.

"We really need a huge amount of data to be able to actually understand what's going on with the world's oceans, and that's so important," said Rosie Lickorish, an IBM software engineer and oceanographer.

"Using just traditional methods alone isn't going to allow us to actually really scale up how we do that.

"You have to have data to be able to actually understand and recognize and start to adapt and change and influence some of the things that we actually currently do in the ocean."

The coronavirus pandemic delayed construction of the ship but if its journey is successful, the 50ft trimaran could become the largest-ever autonomous vessel to cross the ocean.

"This ship will be the precursor for a lot more vessels like it, so from very, very small to much larger, using different levels of autonomy, both with manned vessels, with unmanned vessels, on fully autonomous vessels," said Brett Phaneuf, the project's co-director.

It is hoped the vessel could herald a new era for automated research ships with plans to build two similar boats including one to work in the Arctic. [Lesser insolation may present a problem]

"I think you'll start seeing it in short hauls, water taxis and ferries, where you can reduce the crew and increase the safety and maybe get to a point in a few years where they're just fully autonomous systems," said Mr Phaneuf.

How is the boat operated?

Like the original Mayflower, it is powered by the elements - in this case a mix of sun and wind energy [no wind], with a backup diesel generator.

A range of technologies helps the boat sense the world around it, including cameras and radar to detect hazards.

Computing and artificial intelligence systems supplied by IBM - which is more commonly used by financial services firms - help it make decisions at sea without human intervention.

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship's journey should take about two weeks. You can track its journey live here.

 

 

 

 

 

MORE SOLAR PANELS - The solar panel array has roughly doubled since launch in September 2021. Even so, electricity generating performance will be limited, compared to PlanetSolar's array totalling some 537 m2. The Mayflower has a more efficient hull in principle, being a trimaran with less windage. Meaning that she will require less energy pro-rata.

 

Two ships carrying Pilgrims left Plymouth bound for America; Mayflower and Speedwell. Speedwell was in bad repair and kept taking on water despite repairs, and never made it to the U.S. Mayflower was built in Harwich, an armed merchant vessel boasting three masts that were 30 metres tall and up to 7,5 metres in width. Despite adverse weather, she made it across the Atlantic to found a colony with the help of the indigenous Wampanoag, skilled farmers, hunters and fishermen. The native Americans helped the Pilgrims to find their feet and found a thriving colony.

 

 

 

 

SOLAR POWER - The Mayflower was launched with this solar panel configuration in September 2020, seen here operating on batteries and a diesel engine, used as a backup generator.

 

 

 

 

MORE SOLAR POWER - The Mayflower is seen here with more solar panels added to her trimaran wings in July 2021, sporting new blue livery to accentuate the hull lines. The sponson legs are rigidly fixed on this ship, where, with a mast or wind turbine, as with the formula 1 racing yachts, it may be an advantage to have the capability of lifting the windward (upwind) leg that will not be taking displacement load, where the wind acting on a turbine, or raised solar panels (such as with the Elizabeth Swann), will push the boat leeward (downwind). By this means a vessel with such an 'active hull' might reduce wave drag - hence running resistance.

 

 

 

 

TRIMARAN - The Mayflower configuration is very much like the Cable & Wireless Adventurer that circumnavigated the world using a diesel engine, to set a new world record. The C&W was a Nigel Irens design, later used by Sea Shepherd in their quest to stop pirate whaling.

 

 

TRANSATLANTIC EVENT CALENDAR 2021

DAY/MONTH

POSITION

AVE SPEED

DIST COVERED

-

-

-

-

Launch   15 June 2021

C-Net

ITV News

Setting off

-

Day 1     16 June 2021

BBC

Setting off

-

Day 2     17 June 2021

-

Wandering minstrel

-

Day 3     18 June 2021

Independent

Washington Post report

AI News - Sets sail

Turning back

-

Day 4     19 June 2021

Auto Evolution

BBC

Ocean Crew - In Atlantic

Glitch

-

Day 5     20 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 6     21 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 7     22 June 2021

Atlantic

Stalled

-

Day 8     23 June 2021

Atlantic (English Channel)

No data recorded

-

Day 9     24 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 10    25 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 11    26 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 12    27 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 13    28 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 14    29 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 15    30 June 2021

-

-

-

Day 16    1 July 2021

-

-

-

Day 17    2 July 2021

-

-

-

Day 18    3 July 2021

-

-

-

Day 19    4 July 2021

-

-

-

Day 20    5 July 2021

-

-

-

Day 21    6 July 2021

-

-

-

Arrival        July 2021

Plymouth, Ma, USA

-

-

 

 

 

The IBM Mayflower MAS 400 is an autonomous trimaran powered by solar panels and a diesel engine, piloted by an

 artificially intelligent computer system developed by IBM called 'AI Captain.'

 

JOURNEY TIME

The original wooden 30-meter Mayflower took 66 days to carry the Pilgrims, Founding Fathers from the U.K. to what is now the U.S. The voyage would have involved a lot of tacking, because sailing ships cannot sail directly into the wind. But the new sail-less aluminium boat should take two to three weeks (14-21 days) depending on how strong the prevailing trade winds are, and assuming no technical glitches or marine accidents - the whole point of the COLREGs compliant navigation system.

 

 

 

 

 

A BIT OF HISTORY

 

The first solar boat to travel around the world was the PlanetSolar, coming home on the 4th of May 2012. Computing power was not as advanced as it is today, when PlanetSolar set off on 27th September 2010. PlanetSolar approximately followed the Sunshine Route, a course first shown in London at the 1994/95 Boat Show. Then in January 2013 a patent specification for a COLREGs compliant, unmanned autonomous navigation system was filed by a BMS engineer (now our IP) with the suggestion in 'Claims' for using a solar powered trimaran (patent granted 12 June 2019) as a suitable hull configuration. This patent also included wind energy harvesting as originally advertised for the Mayflower 400.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS, CONTACTS & REFERENCE

 

https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2021-06-15/mayflower-ship-starts-journey-from-plymouth-to-cape-cod-without-anyone-onboard

 

 

 

 

 

Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site

 

  AI NEWS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON PROMARE & IBM'S MAYFLOWER 400TH ATLANTIC ATTEMPT 18TH JUNE 2021

This website is Copyright 2021 Jameson Hunter Ltd