Wärtsilä joins Mayflower autonomous ship project

Wärtsilä has joined the consortium of technology partners behind the Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project, which aims to create the first fully autonomous, unmanned vessel to cross the Atlantic.

The project is being led by marine research organisation ProMare, with IBM already on board to provide AI, Cloud and edge computing technologies to power the Mayflower’s AI Captain and enable the vessel to analyse data and make decisions at sea.

Wärtsilä will provide its RS24 radar system to the project, a high-resolution FMCW K-Band (24GHz) unit designed to support situational awareness, especially in densely populated marine environments.

The radar will work in tandem with the Mayflower’s onboard cameras, AIS, and navigational systems as a part of the AI Captain. The AI Captain constantly evaluates the Mayflower’s environment and modifies the ship’s course in order to avoid debris and storms which could threaten the ship at sea.

The RS24 has already been deployed as one of the primary sensors onboard another autonomous vessel, the IntelliTug, which underwent successful trials in Port of Singapore waters last year.

“We are pleased to provide our latest, high-resolution radar technology, the RS24, as an integral component of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project,” said Dr Sasha Heriot, Business Development Manager, Wärtsilä Voyage.

“This will form the primary instrument for acquiring and tracking targets, and maintaining situational awareness at a scale that allows for early path planning and hazard reduction. This is a unique and highly significant project, and Wärtsilä is honoured to participate in this partnership.”

The Mayflower is set to take to the water for sea trials in the summer of 2020.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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