Mayflower 400 - MAS400 Project

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 8, 2022, 9:21

Mayflower 400 is the world's first intelligent vessel built for autonomous research. The ship uses AI and solar energy to navigate the ocean with no human captain or crew members. It is a flexible, safe, and cost-effective option for exploring and gathering critical information about the ocean.

The MAS400 project was led by the marine research organization, ProMare, collaborating with IBM. IBM acted as the lead technology and scientific partner for the project. The ship is named after the original Mayflower, which carried English and Dutch Pilgrims from England to America around 400 years ago.

Mayflower 400 Significance

Half of the life-form on the Earth is present in the ocean. However, eighty per cent of the underworld is yet to be explored. Hence, to preserve the Earth, we have to understand our ocean.

  • Mayflower 400 provides an opportunity for a deeper understanding of pertinent issues such as climate change, ocean plastic pollution, and marine mammal conservation.
  • A ship without people has an advantage over an unforgiving environment. It enables scientists to expand the area they can observe.
  • With no crew members to get sick and tired, Mayflower 400 has the added benefit of taking as long as it likes to perform scientific experiments.
  • The autonomous research vessel can also help transform industries such as shipping, oil and gas, telecommunications, security and defence, fishing, and aquaculture.

Mayflower 400 - Facts


Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS)

Companies Behind Mayflower 400

· ProMare


· A global consortium of partners

The Mission of Mayflower 400

Help safeguard the future of the ocean

Humans on board


Autonomy Status

Unmanned Vessel (Operates with no human crew)

Sensors onboard

More than 50

Cameras on board


Digital octopuses on board


Scientific projects

· Marine mammals

· Microplastics

· Ocean chemistry

· Sea level height

· Wave patterns

Length of the Vessel

15m- long trimaran

Width of the Vessel


Maximum speed

10 knots

Weight of the Vessel

5 tons

Hull design

Trimaran (central hull with two outrigger wings)

Powered By

AI and Solar-driven

Software Used

· IBM Maximo Visual Inspection

· IBM Edge Application Manager

· IBM Operational Decision Manager automation software

· Other data from IBM’s The Weather Company

Hardware Used

· IBM Power Systems AC922 (onshore),

· 6 Jetson AGX Xavier,

· 2 Jetson Xavier NX,

· 4+ Intel-based computers

· 4+ custom microprocessor systems

Navigation equipment Used

· Precision GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System)

· IMU (Inertial Measurement Units),

· Radar and weather station



Mayflower 400 Autonomous Ship Voyage

  • The Mayflower autonomous ship made the first attempt to cross the Atlantic on 15 June 2021.
  • After three days of the voyage, a glitch was noticed in the ship's hybrid propulsion system. Accordingly, the mission was halted, and a decision was made to bring it back to the base.
  • As per ProMare's support team, the glitch was caused due to a mechanical issue that could not be resolved remotely without human intervention.
  • During the three-day voyage, the ship sailed at an average speed of 7 knots and covered 450 nautical miles in the west-southwest direction.
  • MAS400 performed well during the cruise and demonstrated the ability to handle challenging ocean conditions.
  • On 7 September 2021, the autonomous ship was re-launched after correction to resume its testing and scientific research schedule.
  • As of February 2022, MAS 400 has completed several new sea trials and is preparing for a trip to Portsmouth, UK, in early March.
  • Its next transatlantic voyage is scheduled for April 2022.
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FAQs on Mayflower 400

Q.1) When did Mayflower 400 make its first attempt to cross the Atlantic?

Ans: Mayflower 400 made its first attempt to cross the Atlantic on 15 June 2021.

Q.2) Who are the companies behind Mayflower 400?

Ans: ProMare and IBM are the major companies behind Mayflower 400, along with a global consortium of partners.

Q.3) What purpose does Mayflower 400 serve?

Ans: Mayflower 400 traverses the ocean and gathers critical information about it.