The Shipowners' Club has revelead details about Mayflower Autonomous Ship project (MAS), which is an innovative new venture to design, build and sail the world’s first fully autonomous vessel across the Atlantic Ocean.
The project’s name commemorates the anniversary of the Pilgrim Father’s voyage from Plymouth, UK to Plymouth in the New World (USA) on the original Mayflower in 1620. To mark the anniversary, marine tech company MSubs, Plymouth University and charitable research foundation Promare, are developing a 21-metre autonomous vessel based on a classic Oyster hull.
The vessel is expected to take two years to build, outfit and complete rigorous sea trials. In the meantime, a small six metre vessel, named Christopher Jones after the original Master of the Mayflower, is being used to develop and test the autonomy and supporting systems necessary to navigate safely and control the sailing rig.
The planned voyage is set to take place in 2020, to mark the 400th centenary of the original voyage. The project pays tribute to the pioneering spirit of the Pilgrims by embracing a raft of ground breaking technologies encompassing design, propulsion and control.
The Club spoke with Professor Jones of Plymouth University who explained that the project “has the potential to be a genuine world-first on multiple levels. It is not just a fully autonomous research vessel but also a vessel powered by clean energy, through its solar, sail and wave technology. The 2020 Mayflower voyage will demonstrate new navigation software and the effectiveness of alternative sources of power.”