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Application Note

On-board weather data for MAS autonomous ship

MaxiMet GMX500 weather station provides accuracy and reliability with low power demand


The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) is an ocean going, solar powered, crew-less vessel. It uses Artificial Intelligence (Al) to navigate and solar panels to collect energy, allowing it to travel further and reveal more about the ocean than traditional ships.

Using its ability to remain at sea longer, and its Al navigation to optimize its route, MAS can increase the number and relevance of its scientific and meteorological observations. This will allow a better understanding of critical issues such as climate change, ocean plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation.

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship Project is led by marine research organisation ProMare with IBM as lead technology and scientific partner for the project. The project was named to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship sailing from Plymouth, England to ‘the New World’ in 1620.


With no human crew, MAS needs to plan its own route to optimize data collection, whilst remaining safe and being energy efficient. To achieve this MAS uses AI Captain, an onboard virtual decision making system developed with IBM.

AI Captain relies on data from a number of sources, constantly evaluating the data to maintain optimal efficiency and safety. The information about local weather, a key data source, requires a sensor that is highly reliable and accurate but with minimum space and energy demand. 


MaxiMet® GMX500 compact weather station from Gill Instruments, was selected to provide weather data on the vessel. The MaxiMet range has a reputation for reliability in a range of land and marine based data collection and control environments, and is used by customers around the world. The MaxiMet unit is robust, low power, high performance and easy to integrate with the control and Al systems.

MAS400 programme director Brett Phaneuf stated “The MaxiMet provides us essential, real-time, highly resolute data about local conditions. Without it we would be unable to properly assess local conditions and the rate at which they may change so we maintain safe and efficient navigation on our long journeys across the world’s oceans”.

Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) operates without crew employing AI to guide it, using a range of onboard sensors combined with machine learning (photo courtesy ProMare/IBM) 

MaxiMet® GMX5OO

Compact, integrated weather station used on board the MAS, providing weather data to the Al Captain.

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MaxiMet GMX 550 Compact Weather Station
GILL Instruments meteorological sensors-MaxiMet-Logo

MaxiMet is an advanced compact weather station designed and manufactured by Gill Instruments using proven technology to measure meteorological and environmental parameters to international standards.