An autonomous ship is scheduled to depart across the Atlantic Ocean on May 15 using only AI and solar energy. The Mayflower 400 will use cameras, radars, IBM Watson, and computer vision technology to navigate, following the same path that the Pilgrims did in 1620.
- AI and edge computing software from IBM will navigate the fully autonomous boat. It will make onboard decisions via an edge computing module fed with data from an IBM AI engine.
- The AI-trained "captain" was trained on collision avoidance rules and images to make its way. The voyage was delayed by a year due to the pandemic.
- The University of Plymouth, autonomous craft specialists MSubs, and charity Promare have also worked on the project, which will travel from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Mass. and gather scientific data during the trip.
- This includes recording audio to help track whale populations and measuring sea levels and chemicals in the ocean.
- Allied Market Research predicts the autonomous shipping market could reach $135 billion by 2030. Fully autonomous oceangoing cargo ships could be routine in 10-15 years.
A version of this story first appeared in Inside AI. You can read the full issue here.