Four hundred years ago, the Mayflower set sail for America. Aboard, there were hundreds of pilgrims who hoped for new opportunities.
Next year, a new Mayflower will leave Plymouth, but this one will have no crew. This project is called the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS).
The Mayflower Project is ground-breaking; a vessel guided by artificial intelligence (AI) which will follow the path of the original Mayflower, conducting vital scientific experiments across the Atlantic using its many sensors and cameras.
Over the next few months, the MAS will educate itself during its trials at sea. The ship’s brain (designed and built by IBM) will learn new procedures and how to deal with the complexities that it might face on its journey.
A couple of months ago, a local production company (Lovejoy Productions) was approached by IBM and Promare to film the launch and the naming ceremony in Plymouth. Requiring aerial videography, Lovejoy Productions contacted our team at Different View Photography (DVP) because they knew that the project would require complex piloting and camera manoeuvring – plus they were also impressed by the previous work we had carried out for them.
Over three days, we filmed the arrival of the MAS into Plymouth, and its launch into Turnchapel Wharf. This million-pound vessel was carefully lowered into the water, where aerial photography highlighted the project in a different light for the national press.
On the fourth day, we filmed the naming ceremony at the Mayflower steps. With dignitaries from across the world (including the American ambassador), the MAS was named and had a bottle of Plymouth gin poured over her bow in front of the world’s media. DVP filmed the whole event with our high-end production drone.
We filmed the MAS parade as it went towards the Hoe, and back to Turnchapel Wharf. When landing and taking off with the drone, our piloting skills had to be at the top of their game so that the brief from IBM and Promare was met.
The footage of the ceremony was requested for use by ITN news, as well as the BBC, and the American Embassy.
A month later, the head of content in Europe contacted DVP directly and asked that we filmed the sea trials in November.
The story of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship continues!