Autonomous Research Ship Enlists Unique Comm Tech

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) has selected Iridium Communications and partner Thales Group as its Official Communications Partner to provide real-time communications for the fully-autonomous transatlantic research vessel. Set to sail this Spring of 2021, the ship’s first mission is to sail the same transatlantic crossing of the original 17th century Mayflower to gather environmental data about climate change, ocean acidity, plastic pollution, and marine mammal conservation for starts. Along with scientific research, the MAS will collect insights for the autonomous shipping movement that’s ramping up in the maritime industry.

Expert in the digitalization of vessels via satellite communications, Iridium is providing Iridium Certus weather-resilient broadband connectivity that helps to remotely manage vessel operations including command and control, tracking, propulsion system diagnostics, and other functions.  Also supporting the mission, the MAS employs a Thales VesseLINK 700 terminal powered by Iridium Certus to ensure the team onshore can maintain consistent communications and keep track of the vessel’s location.

Of note, the MAS is an international effort led by marine research non-profit ProMare and IBM with support from global partners.  It also uses IBM Research’s Hypertaste device to analyze ocean chemistry using an array of chemical sensors.

Ready to dive in for deeper data and details? If so, pay a visit to the Mayflower Autonomous Ship website as well as the Iridium website. And for case studies, videos, and more, mosey on over to IBM’s Mayflower page. Happy sails to you.

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