The National Lottery Heritage Fund has granted a £9.5m Heritage Horizon Award to establish the UK’s first National Marine Park in Plymouth Sound.
The £1m robotic ship has set sail from Plymouth and is making its way across the Atlantic Ocean to mark 400 years since the Mayflower sailed for America.
The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) is a 15m long, aluminium-hulled trimaran, which is bristling with the latest sensors and AI (artificial intelligence).
It left Plymouth at 4am on June 15 and within a day had reached the Isles of Scilly as part of its trailblazing voyage from Plymouth to Cape Cod in the USA.
The MAS project was started in 2016 and has involved input from engineers and scientists in Plymouth, the USA, and Norway.
The modular vessel was built in a shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, when no British shipyard was able to take on the project.
It was shipped in pieces to Plymouth in the early weeks of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown and assembled, safely, at the M Subs factory at Estover.