MAYFLOWER TRIMARAN - 1. The solar-powered research boat will aim to traverse the Atlantic Ocean in 2021 with no humans on board. 2. Sea trials are due to commence off the south coast of England in late 2020. 3. The Mayflower was officially unveiled on September 16th 2020, the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower departure.
The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) project is only possible because of the team that makes it happen.
Simon Holgate is part of the IBM research crew and a shipmate based in Daresbury, UK.
His role on the MAS project is as joint leader of the science programme onboard the Mayflower for IBM Research and co-ordinating with their partners at ProMare and Universities to make it happen.
Between himself and Rosie Lickorish, they have brought together the different themes and technologies that are coming together to make up this project - whale song detection and vessel condition monitoring; sea level, tide and wave measurements; ocean acidity, nutrients and salinity measurements.
Simon's two year vision for MAS (to 2022) is that it should become a fully autonomous ocean research platform that is able to integrate data from it's sensors with weather forecasts, satellites and other data sources. With this information the MAS can self-seek areas of interest - like ocean fronts and upwelling zones - and monitor those regions, sending back data to shore in real-time.
Simon says he loves MAS: "It's fantastic to be involved with such a futuristic project - right at the cutting edge where research becomes reality. For me, this is the fulfillment of a dream I've been pursuing for the past 8 years - to develop vessels that can guide themselves through the entire voyage. This is probably about as close to the frontier as we can get - our own Moon Landing."
He claims not to be really worried about anything because they have learned so much already, that he consider the project a success before the boat leaves port.
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