Robot Mayflower with an AI captain on way to Plymouth

Four centuries after the original Mayflower carried British settlers to the United States, a new, crewless ship is preparing to set sail under the same banner.

The voyage, due to begin in September, will be piloted by an AI captain and could become the first full-sized, fully autonomous vessel to cross the Atlantic.

A hull designed in Gdansk, Poland, set off by road for Plymouth earlier this week, where the final works will be completed, according to the Daily Mail.

Workers in Gdansk, Poland

Once the ship launches, organisers IBM and marine research group ProMare hope for the crewless vessel to navigate itself along the same route the Mayflower would have used 400 years ago.

The original Mayflower was a wooden, commercial, lightly armed sailing vessel. The new Mayflower is a ‘highly-sophisticated trimaran with an even more sophisticated interior,’ says Goetz Linzenmeier, chairman and founder of Aluship, which built the hull.

Come September, the new Mayflower will set sail from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts.

When the original ship set sail in 1620, the journey would have taken crew and passengers around 60 days. This new vessel should make the crossing in 12.

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