Groundbreaking Mayflower Autonomous Ship revealed to the world

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship has been officially named during a special ceremony in Plymouth on the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower.

A ceremonial bottle of Plymouth Gin was poured on the ship, before representatives from America, Holland and the UK gave speeches.

They included the US Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood Johnson, in the presence of the Dutch Ambassador, Karel van Oosterom, and the First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin.

The future of oceanography, MAS will transform ocean science, enabling scientists to gather the data they need to better understand critical issues including global warming, ocean plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation.

The ship has been built by marine research organisation ProMare, with IBM acting as technology partner.

Robert Wood Johnson, said: “Four centuries after the famous Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic, the US and the UK are once again setting sail from Plymouth to make history.

“American and British scientists have collaborated to launch a new autonomous Mayflower ship powered by the most cutting-edge artificial intelligence ever known.

“As we embark on this new era of marine exploration together, it could not be clearer: in America and Britain, the pioneering spirit of the original Mayflower Pilgrims lives on.”

Karel van Oosterom commented: “As the Netherlands, we have always been proud of our maritime history and religious tolerance.

“The story of the Mayflower is part of our history. It highlights the longstanding ties we have with the four nations commemorating, but also reflects what we stand for today.

“As a trading nation and partner in development, the Netherlands has a leading role in developing creative, innovative and sustainable solutions to global challenges.

“The launch of the ‘new’ Mayflower is a great example of innovation, both in the field of security and science.

“Together with the UK – as well as other countries, we work together to contribute to a safer and more sustainable world.

“Our presence here today, as well as our joint maritime activities in Plymouth are an example of this cooperation.”

Adrian Vinken, Chair of Mayflower 400, added: “It’s fitting that this radical pioneering vessel should receive the Mayflower name 400 years to the day that her namesake left on her original world-changing journey.

“It’s the perfect way to start this year of national and international cultural activities and collaboration.”

The ship launch is a key future-facing moment in Plymouth’s Mayflower 400 programme. It represents the strength of Plymouth’s marine sector, an engine of growth and regeneration for the city.