Research organization ProMare and a global consortium of partners have created the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS), a pioneering project of collaborative innovation using an integrated set of IBM’s AI, cloud and edge technologies. The ship will depart Plymouth, England and set sail for Plymouth, MA in the spring of 2021 and will have the ability to operate independently in some of the most challenging environments on the planet. It will be one of the first full-sized and fully autonomous vessels with the capability to self-navigate across oceans and spend long periods of time alone at sea. The ship is pioneering a cost-effective and flexible platform for gathering data that will help safeguard the health of the ocean and the industries it supports.

We invite you to take the journey with us through a multi-part docuseries that provides an inside look into the creation and first-time voyage of a full-sized, autonomous ship across the Atlantic.

Episode 4: From Ashore to Afloat

Witness the sea trials in Plymouth as the Mayflower Autonomous Ship faces ocean conditions for the first time. As the team test drives the remote-controlled MAS in the harbor, we’ll learn the ins-and-outs of training a vessel and the reality of working outside of a lab. Join us to see how the Mayflower Autonomous Ship is truly the ultimate edge device.

Episode 3: All Hands on Deck

In this episode, we’ll learn about the research technology behind the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, the scientists & professors that desperately need data, and the IBM engineers making it all happen. Join us as we capture the IBM team working with the tech, learn about their challenges, and how this technology could transform our future. We’ll see how the weather and climate can affect maritime navigation and ships at sea, demonstrating environmental urgency for this mission and spotlighting the people doing the impossible.

Episode 2: Captain’s Log

The ocean is an ever-changing dynamic environment and the “AI Captain” of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship must determine the best course of action to avoid unexpected navigation hazards.

Join us as we explore how it was conceptualized to use all available data sources to sense, think and make decisions at sea – even with limited connectivity. Take a closer look at the AI Captain while the team prepares to take the ship into the water for the first time. 

Understand how it will constantly re-evaluate its surroundings and update the course of the Mayflower as situations evolve. Come along and take a deeper dive in this groundbreaking technology and meet the ProMare and IBM experts responsible for the “Captain’s Log”

Episode 1: Request Permission to Come Aboard

Learn about the origin of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, get an inside look into how the ship was developed, and discover what autonomous exploration means for marine research and national security missions. 

Featuring interviews with: 

  • Brett Phaneuf, Founder/Chief Executive, Submergence Group LLC (USA) / M Subs Ltd (UK)
  • Ray Spicer, VP, Defense and Intelligence, IBM Federal

About the Mayflower Autonomous Ship 

Powered by AI and the energy from the sun, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship will be able to spend vast periods of time at sea, collecting data about the ocean. Safer, more flexible and cost-effective than today’s manned research vessels, the new-generation Mayflower promises to transform ocean science, enabling scientists to gather the data they need to understand critical issues such as global warming, ocean plastic pollution, over exploitation and the impact on important species such as marine mammals. The Mayflower Autonomous Ship is led by marine research organisation ProMare (, with IBM as technology partner.