MARS Is an Unmanned Research Watercraft Powered by Renewable Energy Technologies

MARS 5 photos
Photo: Shuttleworth Design
Whether or not the name is a coincidence, the renderings of the future watercraft look like this vessel comes from Mars. However, MARS stands for Mayflower Autonomous Research Ship and is announced as the world’s first project of the type.
The reason this concept exists in the first place has scientific grounds. According to the team running the project, the autonomous drone technology that has been used so effectively in situations considered unsuitable for humans has not been harnessed by the shipping industry, which continues to steer the classic course. Diesel engines continue to pump out carbon emission, and its manned crews remain at risk from piracy.

Here’s where MARS comes in. Designed through a partnership between Plymouth University, autonomous specialists MSubs and award-winning yacht designer Shuttleworth Design, the unmanned ship will sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Fueled by renewable energy - wind, solar and current - and leading-edge technology, the ship will also provide a live educational resource to students.

It may seem like any other of those concepts you almost know they will never see the light of the day. But we’re looking at a multi-million dollar project will take nearly two and a half years to complete. Moreover, if everything goes according to plan, then its first voyage will commence in 2020. The trip will mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower sailing from Plymouth to the North American continent.

Here’s what Plymouth University Faculty of Science and Engineering executive dean Professor Kevin Jones said about MARS, according to Ship Technology:

"MARS has the potential to be a genuine world-first, and will operate as a research platform, conducting numerous scientific experiments during its voyage. And it will be a test bed for new navigation software and alternative forms of power, incorporating huge advancements in solar, wave and sail technology."
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