Autonomous ship Mayflower is making another attempt at a transatlantic voyage from the UK to the US after engineers fixed a technical error, according to The Register.
Built by ProMare, a non-profit organization focused on marine research, and IBM, Mayflower first set sail on April 28, embarking on a 4,800-kilometer voyage across the Atlantic. But in less than two weeks, the unmanned ship broke down and was taken back to the port of Horta in the Azores, 1,300 km off the coast of Portugal, for inspection by engineers.
Without people on board, the autonomous ship Mayflower (MAS) can only rely on its many cameras, sensors, equipment controllers, and various devices that run machine learning algorithms. Computer vision software helps him navigate the waters and avoid objects that may get in his way.
The first attempt to cross the Atlantic failed the ship due to a mechanical failure of the generator. Fortunately, the technical problem was minor this time, and ProMare and IBM managed to return the ship to sea to resume the last attempt to reach the United States.
“ProMare identified the issue as an isolation switch that failed,” said an IBM spokesperson. “The IBM technology onboard remained functioning as designed and continues to function as designed.”
The switch affected the Mayflower power system, undermining its power. After the team solved the problem, they conducted tests, refilled the diesel fuel, and waited for good weather to send it back to the ocean.
“As of 0900 BST May 20, MAS was back underway with its transatlantic crossing,” said an IBM spokesman. It aims to complete the rest of the 3580 km trip in 16 days. Now, almost a week after resuming its voyage, the ship has traveled the greatest distance and is a little more than halfway to America.
AI Mayflower software runs on four computers with Intel processors, six NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier graphics processors, two NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX boards, and several other chips. Live camera recordings from onboard webcams are stored online so that viewers can follow them.