The University of Plymouth is aiming to highlight the future potential of autonomous ocean science as part of a pioneering voyage commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower.
The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) had been due to set sail from Plymouth this year and attempt to complete a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed its departure, however it is now hoped the ship will make its way from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts in the Spring of 2021.
In advance of that, and marking the actual anniversary of the Mayflower's departure, a naming ceremony is taking place in the city to give people the first opportunity to see the new ship in the flesh. If successful, it will be one of the first self-navigating, full-sized vessels to cross the Atlantic and opens the door on a new era of autonomous research ships.
The project is being coordinated through a consortium headed by marine research organisation ProMare. The research element of the voyage is being coordinated by the University, IBM and ProMare, and will focus on core areas including marine mammal detection, marine plastics and ocean chemistry.