IBM and the marine research organization ProMare are celebrating this year's 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' voyage to found Massachusetts with a trans-Atlantic voyage captained by artificial intelligence. They've named their test ship Mayflower, after the Pilgrim ship.
The ship is out to sea for a month of testing, and won't make its signature voyage until the fall. The controlling software, called AI Captain, has a tough task ahead of it; even though there's little traffic, the ocean is constantly changing weather, temperature, winds and more, and the software must react even when it has no signal to communicate with 'home.'
It won't be the only Maylfower celebrating the anniversary; a more traditional replica of the original ship is berthed in Plymouth,. Massachusetts, and has recently had renovations to make sure it's 'ship-shape' for the anniversary.