Autonomous Mayflower Reaches American Shores — in Canada

By MATT O’BRIEN, AP Technology Writer

A crewless robotic boat that had tried to retrace the 1620 sea voyage of the Mayflower has lastly reached the shores of North America — this time in Canada as an alternative of the Massachusetts coast the place its namesake landed greater than 400 years in the past.

The modern autonomous trimaran docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday, after greater than 5 weeks crossing the Atlantic Ocean from England, in response to tech firm IBM, which helped construct it.

Piloted by synthetic intelligence expertise, the 50-foot (15-meter) Mayflower Autonomous Ship did not have a captain, navigator or any people on board — although it might need helped to have a mechanic.

“The expertise that makes up the autonomous system labored completely, flawlessly,” mentioned Rob High, an IBM computing government concerned in the venture. “Mechanically, we did run into issues.”

 

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Its first try on the trans-Atlantic crossing to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in June 2021 was beset by technical glitches, forcing the boat to return to its residence port of Plymouth, England.

It set off once more from England practically a yr afterward April 27, sure for Virginia — however a generator drawback diverted it to Portugal’s Azores islands, the place a crew member flew in to carry out emergency repairs. More troubles on the open sea got here in late May when the U.S.-bound boat developed an issue with the charging circuit for the generator’s starter batteries.

AI software program is getting higher at serving to self-driving machines perceive their environment and pilot themselves, however most robots cannot heal themselves when the {hardware} goes awry.

Nonprofit marine analysis group ProMare, which labored with IBM to construct the ship, switched to a back-up navigation laptop on May 30 and charted a course to Halifax — which was nearer than any U.S. vacation spot. The boat’s webcam on Sunday morning confirmed it being towed by a bigger boat because the Halifax skyline neared — a security requirement underneath worldwide maritime guidelines, IBM mentioned.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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