The human-free, AI-powered Saildrone Surveyor has arrived in Hawaii from SF • The Register
A human-less autonomous boat known as the Saildrone Surveyor successfully sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean while mapping the topography of the seabed, a feat achieved less than a month after the failed a similar boat powered by IBM.
The Saildrone Surveyor, 22 meters long and weighing 12,700 kilograms, traveled 2,250 nautical miles in 28 days to map 6,400 nautical miles of the seabed. The project is the largest attempt to date to map the Earth’s underwater landscape; we have mapped the Moon more than the deep oceans of our planet.
The boat uses a 360o camera to record its surroundings. These images are then processed by GPUs running computer vision neural networks to detect objects, Saildrone mentionned.
There are several other types of sensors on board, ranging from radar to infrared for navigating in the dark, and it is powered by wind and solar power. Saildrone has trained its machine learning systems on data recorded during seagoing voyages spanning a total of more than 500,000 nautical miles over 13,000 days at sea.
“This successful maiden voyage marks a revolution in our ability to understand our planet,” said CEO and Founder Richard Jenkins. declaration. “We have solved the challenge of reliable long range, high payload remote maritime operations. Study at sea can now be accomplished without a large vessel and crew; this completely changes the operational economy of our customers.
Saildrone will now focus on extending its fleet with the objective of mapping the entire seabed in ten years. But research at sea is not all the company has its eyes on. Jenkins said he wanted to expand Saildrone Surveyor’s technology to other industries, including security and defense.
There are many projects underway to navigate AI autonomous ships around the world. IBM’s Mayflower ship attempted an ambitious transatlantic voyage from England to the United States last month. Unfortunately, it only lasted three days at sea before it broke down and had to return home for repairs. ®