The future of shipping? Seafaring Mayflower drone will use renewable energy to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in 2020
- Plymouth University will build Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship, which will be the first of its kind in the world
- Ship will demonstrate future of shipping and ocean research, being unmanned and powered by renewable energy
- Vessel will replicate the sailing of the 'pilgrim fathers', and project will be ready on the 400th anniversary Mayflower
- The pilgrims left Plymouth in September 1620 to start new life and arrived in 'New Plymouth' on December 21
It was a voyage that carried the pilgrims across the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean to the New World for the first time and in doing so changed the course of world history forever. Now a modern version of the sailing of the Mayflower, which carried the carried the English Separatists from Plymouth to America in 1620, is aiming to make a pioneering journey of its own by becoming the world's first full sized unmanned ship to navigate across the Atlantic.
Engineers have announced plans to build the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship as a way of demonstrating the future of shipping by using renewable energy to power it and sailing autonomously across the ocean.
Slick: A British university has revealed plans to build the world's first full size unmanned ship to sail across the Atlantic Ocean
If successful it could pave the way for fleets of floating drones carrying cargo, and perhaps even passengers, around the world.The vessel, which is being developed at Plymouth Univesrity, will replicate the sailing of the 'pilgrim fathers', and the university aim for the project to be ready on the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, in 2020.
The pilgrims left Plymouth, Devon, on board the Mayflower in September 1620, to start a new life and arrived in 'New Plymouth', Massachusetts on December 21, 1620.A statement on the project's website said: 'As a genuine world first and the largest civilian-based project of its kind, the Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship has the potential to transform and influence the future of world shipping, and inspire a new generation of ocean explorers and researchers.
'MARS will pave the way for the creation and development of new technologies in ocean exploration and navigation, technologies fit for the 21st century and beyond – facilitating marine-based research in areas deemed dangerous, dirty or dull.'
Mean machine: Ship will demonstrate the future of shipping and ocean research, being unmanned and powered by renewable energy
The ship will replicate the sailing of the 'pilgrim fathers', and the university aim for the project to be ready on the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, in 2020. The pilgrims left Plymouth, Devon, on board the Mayflower in September 1620
The vessel has been designed by yachting firm Shuttleworth Design and will operate as a research platform, conducting experiments during its voyage.
The ship will use solar panels, wave power and the wind to help power its crossing. It will also use new navigation software to allow the vessel to make the crossing without the help of humans.
The project's website said: 'The civilian maritime world has struggled to keep pace with technology due to a combination of cultural and cost factors.
Plymouth University has said the vessel will use state of the art technology to harness the sun, wind and waves to power the vessel on its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. It will use autonomous navigation software to ensure it can navigate without human input
'The autonomous drone technology that has been used so effectively in situations considered unsuitable for humans has not been harnessed by the shipping industry, which continues to steer the conservative course, its diesel engines pumping out carbon emissions and its manned crews at risk from piracy.
'It begs the question, if we can put a rover on Mars and have it autonomously conduct research, why can't we sail an unmanned vessel across the Atlantic Ocean and, ultimately, around the globe.'
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