A key achievement for Silicon Sensing in 2022 was the company’s involvement in the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS)’s trans-Atlantic voyage from Plymouth, UK to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Throughout the voyage, the MAS ‘AI Captain’ guided the vessel using precise motion data from two Silicon Sensing AMU30 Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs). These IMUs also helped measure sea surface height as part of detailed scientific analysis of ocean topography.
“This is an incredible achievement,” said Steve Capers, General Manager of Silicon Sensing Systems. “The Mayflower is the largest unmanned vessel to successfully make this difficult crossing. We congratulate everyone on this dedicated and hardworking team, and we are very proud of the contribution made by our small, rugged IMUs.”
According to Silicon Sensing, its AMU30 Micro Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) unit has impressive inertial performance, including exceptional bias stability and low noise characteristics, plus an embedded Kalman Filter based Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) algorithm. It delivers precise 3-axis outputs of angular rate and acceleration, plus roll, pitch and heading angles, altitude and pressure, and temperature, at 200Hz – all critical to precise maritime navigation.
Two AMU30s made real-time, precision measurements of the movement of the MAS in 6 degrees of freedom, allowing the AI Captain to make minute maneuvering adjustments to optimize vessel performance in a complex wavefield. They also provided redundant general navigation capability at sea. When coupled with optical and Real Time Kinematics (RTK) GPS information, they also assisted the ship in making accurate measurements of sea surface height, helping in the study of ocean tides, circulation and the amount of heat the ocean holds.
This voyage is reportedly just one element of an extensive scientific data gathering and research program the MAS will complete in the coming years.