An unmanned ship on an overseas voyage in September 2020.

Mayflower Autonomous Ship, Foto: Rachel Nicholls-lee, Whiskerstay Ltd

The unmanned ship, operated by artificial intelligence, will soon set sail for its first overseas voyage.

Four hundred years after many immigrants first came from the UK to the United States during a two-month voyage that carried 102 passengers and 30 crew members, overseas navigation will be repeated, albeit in a modern version.

This is the first overseas voyage of an autonomous vessel. The Maylflower Autonomous Ship or MAS is scheduled to set sail from Plymouth in September 2020. Its target is on the other side of the ocean, in Plymouth, USA, which would mark the 400th anniversary of the navigation of the ship “Mayfauer”, on which many immigrants came to the USA for the first time.

The autonomous ship should set sail from Great Britain next year, and its helmsman will be artificial intelligence.

This means that the ship “alone” will make decisions about the direction of navigation and avoidance of other vessels in the ocean, and will call the “base” only if it deems it necessary. It will be equipped with lidar, radar, gps and cameras that will give it a bigger picture.

MAS, which is currently under construction in Gdansk, Poland, will be trimmed with one long main hull, in order to be as efficient as possible during navigation, while two smaller hulls will serve to stabilize the vessel and will have solar panels on them. Wind and sun will be the main sources of energy for MAS, while the diesel generator will be used only in case of danger. It will have a maximum speed of 20 knots, it will be 15 meters long in total, and it will weigh five tons.