Surveillance of the United Kingdom's coastal, maritime environment is more important than ever. As an island nation and trading power, we must protect and secure the seas along our coastline. Fisheries, cargo, Search And Rescue and environmental protection alone combine to provide a significant challenge for available resources. These challenges are mirrored overseas contexts, including the challenging coastal areas of Africa.
Project "SeaWatch" will provide a low-cost contribution to maritime surveillance, via an autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ("UAV") with a specially-adapted, AI-enabled 3D camera system. UAVAid and Archangel Imaging have combined to produce an innovative system designed with proven technology to deliver a significant uplift in capability and resources to the user. SeaWatch will be able to autonomously monitor vast areas of the sea, only reporting alerts for anomalies that are desired by the user.
Using a UAV to search reduces cost, eliminates risk and makes better use of scarce human resources, but it has its own drawback: multiple studies show that one of the main failure mechanisms of using TV camera-based monitoring systems is human error in "spotting" the issue of interest. This project will design, develop and demonstrate a fully-integrated and fully-automatic system, specifically optimised for carrying out coastal maritime searches, using an extended development of an existing UAV platform, developed to operate in the challenging maritime environment, to conduct the physical search, coupled with an extended development of an existing artificial-intelligence based image processing system to identify issues of interest in the images and a new development in rapidly-deployable wireless networks to allow the system to be deployed quickly to any desired location. The system will integrate with AIS databases for vessel cross referencing to support automation of management and enforcement of coastal waters regulations.
"SeaWatch" comprises an existing, proven UAV, provided by UAVAid, coupled to AI technology in the form of Archangel Imaging's algorithms & Cerebella mission management system, which can control numerous remote sensor systems at once and also their AI-enabled 3D cameras.