Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd.
Plymouth, UK
+44 0 1752 723330

Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd's latest DMU30 inertial measurement unit (IMU) has been chosen to provide highly accurate ship's attitude data to the autopilot that will navigate the ground-breaking Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS 400) as it travels the world.

Artists impression of the MAS 400 autonomous ship. Inset is the new DMU30 IMU, which is just 68.5mm x 61.5mm x 65.5mm

The mission of the MAS 400 project is to build an autonomous vessel capable of conducting scientific research, with the endurance and reliability to operate remotely in all corners of the globe. The vessel is to be powered by renewable energy and, where necessary, compliant with maritime regulations. The vessel's maiden voyage, unmanned, across the Atlantic, will form part of Plymouth, England's ‘Mayflower 400’ celebrations in 2020 - commemorating the 400th anniversary of the crossing of the pilgrim fathers in the original Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth MA, USA. Having completed the crossing, MAS 400 will then go on to travel around the globe.

Silicon Sensing's DMU30 is the company's latest high performance micro-electro mechanical system (MEMS) IMU and is designed for use where there are exacting motion sensing requirements, as with the MAS 400. DMU30 is a full 6 degree of freedom (DoF) IMU that uses the company's own gyros and accelerometers to create a small, rugged, and cost-effective unit that offers the high levels of performance more typical of larger, heavier and more costly fiber optic gyro (FOG)-based devices.

A DMU30 unit has already been delivered to MSubs Ltd for use throughout the trials for the MAS 400 vessel. Driving the MAS 400 project is MAS (Mayflower Autonomous Ship) Ltd, ‘a not for profit company’ comprised of MSubs Ltd, ProMare (a charitable research foundation) and Plymouth University. MSubs Ltd provides the managerial organization while the university provides the intellectual horsepower, with the project a focus of undergraduate research. Shuttleworth Design Ltd are designing the vessel and Qinetiq are providing the technical expertise necessary to deal with the challenges of controlling an autonomous vessel.

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