Autonomous marine vision system to monitor borders at sea

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Vreo Innovation, a UK-based vision system solutions company, has been commissioned to create a marine vision system.

The device will be fitted onboard an autonomous surface vehicle that will be used to monitor illegal activities at sea at country borders.

Vreo's partner, Most AV (Autonomous Vessels), has developed the autonomous surface vessel called Autonaut. The system conducts real time image and video capture that can be transmitted via satellite.

The technology has quickly generated a high degree of interest from governments and law enforcement agencies, which recognise the benefits of establishing vision capability off-shore. Autonaut can autonomously patrol an area, hold position or be piloted remotely over satellite communication, surveying large areas using cameras, passive acoustic monitoring and other surveillance sensors.

Jura (Autonaut’s five metre iteration) launched the test mission earlier this week to demonstrate situational awareness capability. This mission has been developed in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult and Blue Economy specialists NLA, focusing on the challenges of capturing ground truth, evidential images and data.

Vreo Innovation cameras will gather stabilised HD video images and transmit them back to land in near real-time using the Inmarsat Fleet Broadband network.

The cameras included are The Mariner and The Mastcam. The Mariner is a stabilised zoom camera mounted on the surface of the deck, with 30x optical zoom and HD video-over-IP. It has been integrated into the satellite transmission system to enable real-time remote monitoring. It was developed to monitor illegal fishing, support with border control, and environmental monitoring and helping to protect conservation areas.

The MastCam is a 360-degree panoramic multi-camera system mounted at the top of the mast, which takes and stores 13 megapixel stills from each of four viewpoints giving a total of 52 megapixel panoramics. At 15-minute intervals, the images are stored on a solid state drive and can be retrieved via the satellite transmission system. Its purpose is to provide situational awareness including sea state, weather and marine life monitoring.

Soon after the initial mission, Vreo’s Mariner could be undertaking longer operations on board Autonaut patrolling newly established marine protected areas in various global locations.

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