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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday September 17 2020, @09:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the at-least-the-AI-can't-get-scurvy dept.

High-tech UK-US ship launched on 400th Mayflower anniversary:

With a splash of Plymouth gin, the U.S. ambassador to Britain officially launched a ship named Mayflower on Wednesday, 400 years to the day after a wooden vessel with that name sailed from an English port and changed the history of two continents.

Unlike the merchant ship that carried a group of European Puritan settlers to a new life across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620, the Mayflower christened by U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson has no crew or passengers. It will cross the sea powered by sun and wind, and steered by artificial intelligence.

Johnson said the high-tech ship, developed jointly by U.K.-based marine research organization ProMare and U.S. tech giant IBM, showed that "the pioneering spirit of the Mayflower really lives on" in the trans-Atlantic partnership.

[...] The Mayflower Autonomous Ship — its creators decided against a snappier name — is intended to be the first in a new generation of crewless high-tech vessels that can explore parts of oceans too difficult or dangerous for people to reach.

[...] The 50-foot (15-meter) trimaran will undertake six months of sea trials and short trips before setting out on its trans-Atlantic trip to measure ocean health: assessing the impact of climate change, measuring micro-plastic pollution and studying populations of whales and dolphins.

Along the way, its AI captain will have to make complex decisions in response to wind, waves, vessels and unknown surprises.

"We're quietly confident we're going to make it," Stanford-Clark said. "Ultimately, the sea will decide."

Related:
Groundbreaking Mayflower Autonomous Ship revealed to the world
Mayflower Autonomous Ship Launches
An unmanned voyage in the wake of the Mayflower


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Thursday September 17 2020, @10:02PM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 17 2020, @10:02PM (#1052407) Homepage Journal

    Be careful not to hit that rock named after a brand of automobiles.

    --
    Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17 2020, @10:30PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17 2020, @10:30PM (#1052422)

      Yes be sure you dodge that rock.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:46PM (1 child)

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:46PM (#1052480) Journal

        Man was that rock the most underwhelming stone I have ever seen made such a big deal of. It's small and sits in a dark, muddy hole in a crummy boardwalk. It made me feel sad for all the fudge shops and t-shirt sellers and other tourist trap businesses that have sprung up around that little park.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday September 18 2020, @02:34AM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 18 2020, @02:34AM (#1052558) Homepage Journal

          It made me feel sad for . . . tourist trap businesses

          I've had an almost life long sadness for tourist traps and the businesses that surround them. There really are some awe-inspiring thingamabobs in this world, but many of the best have no touristy crap associated with them at all. The touristy stuff? Well - most of it is only awe-inspiring in that people travel hundreds and thousands of miles to see it.

          --
          Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:12PM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:12PM (#1052457)

    Unlike the merchant ship that carried a group of European Puritan settlers to a new life across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620, the Mayflower christened by U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson has no crew or passengers.

    I'm glad there's nobody on board: I was afraid they were going to show up, rob a few graves, infect us all with some strange plague, and kill off whoever was left.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:48PM (1 child)

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:48PM (#1052481) Journal

      You know, it does make me wonder if we haven't already done the same thing to Mars, though, with our robotic explorers. They say they sterilize the probes before departure to prevent contamination, but life is incredibly tenacious and bound to hitch a ride anyway.

      Will our grandchildren gasp at how reckless we were?

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Friday September 18 2020, @03:25PM

        by Freeman (732) on Friday September 18 2020, @03:25PM (#1052800) Journal

        Highly doubtful. There's likely no form of life on that barren rock, except what we put there. There may be some dead parasite hitching a ride on one of the rovers or at one of the landing sites or the like. Otherwise, we'll be bringing life with us, carving our own space on the planet, and hopefully using locally resourced metal, minerals, etc. to fuel a sustainable presence. In the event that doesn't pan out, we'll leave a few relics and be stuck on a literal paradise of a planet compared to anything in our solar system. We'd just about have to crack this planet in half to get a worse place to live than any other place in our solar system.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17 2020, @11:33PM (#1052471)

    Name it May McFlowerface

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Friday September 18 2020, @12:19AM (2 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Friday September 18 2020, @12:19AM (#1052493) Journal

    Along the way, its AI captain will have to make complex decisions in response to wind, waves, vessels and unknown surprises.

    Options:
        Power: More/less/constant
        Steering: left/right/straight
        EPIRB: on/off [wikipedia.org]
        Crash: sink

    Not exactly 'complex', although they do want to avoid 'travel in endless loops'

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18 2020, @02:11AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18 2020, @02:11AM (#1052542)

      > avoid 'travel in endless loops'

      Like orbiting around a central star again and again and...

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by fakefuck39 on Friday September 18 2020, @05:33AM

      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Friday September 18 2020, @05:33AM (#1052627)

      i know you're being funny, but this is exactly on point. i'm so sick of every switch statement being called "ai." they have cases they handle - for example a boat detected in the way. so it calls a function that estimates the boat's path based on collected data, plots a path to avoid it while minimally deviating from a course, and loops back to rescan when the radar turns in a minute for any changes. this is not fucking ai.

      they mention "unknown surprises." an ai, like a human, would try to figure out what the surprise is. this thing just defaults to something for the type of unknown. it's not at ai level of a 3 year old child - it' can't figure out something it hasn't been programmed with and make a new definition for what it is.

      let's say a small plane loses control and 20 people skydive into the ocean, scattered all around the ship. a kid could figure out it's people and go in a circle to pick them up, then resume course. this thing will never figure out they're people - they'll be small objects.

      this is not ai. in fact, nothing developed by anyone right now is ai. google translate is supposedly ai as everyone claims. if it was, it'd go like this: some programmed "ai" that's coded to drive a car, would notice people talking in the car. and eventually it would figure out they're talking, and learn the language from them. what's not an ai is when code not meant to do language can't figure out that this thing called language exists.

  • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18 2020, @07:30AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 18 2020, @07:30AM (#1052652)

    Properties in India [google.com]

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  • (Score: 2) by TrentDavey on Friday September 18 2020, @04:41PM

    by TrentDavey (1526) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 18 2020, @04:41PM (#1052870)

    From the pictures, it doesn't look like they took advantage of the surface area of the craft.
    Maybe the power requirements are much smaller than say that of the Sun Racers cars which need maximum throughput?

    And how is power from the wind generated?

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