Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Arlington, VA, United States (4E) – The U.S. Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched what it calls an “Ocean of Things” program that will eventually flood the oceans with thousands of sensors able to detect military and civilian activity in real time.
The Ocean of Things program wants to “enable persistent maritime situational awareness over large ocean areas by deploying thousands of small, low-cost floats that could form a distributed sensor network.”
DARPA said each smart float will contain a suite of commercially available sensors to collect environmental data such as ocean temperature, sea state, and location. Each float will also collect activity data about vessels, aircraft and even maritime mammals moving through the area.
The floats will transmit data periodically via satellite to a cloud network for storage and real-time analysis.
“The goal of the program is to increase maritime awareness in a cost-effective way,” said John Waterston, program manager in DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO).
“It would be cost-prohibitive to use existing platforms to continuously monitor vast regions of the ocean. By coupling powerful analytical tools with commercial sensor technology, we plan to create floating sensor networks that significantly expand maritime awareness at a fraction of the cost of current approaches.”
The technical challenges facing program, however, are daunting and involve two key areas: float development and data analytics.
DARPA wants firms to design an intelligent float to house a passive sensor suite that can survive in harsh maritime environments.
Each float will report information from its surroundings for at least one year before safely scuttling itself in the deep ocean. The floats has to be made from environmentally safe materials; pose no danger to vessels and comply with all federal laws, regulations and executive orders related to protection of marine life.
The data analytics portion will require proposers to develop cloud-based software and analytic techniques to process the floats’ reported data. This effort includes dynamic display of float locations, health, and mission performance; processing of environmental data for oceanographic and meteorological models; developing algorithms to automatically detect, track, and identify nearby vessels; and identification of new indicators of maritime activity.
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate