Med: satellites and algorithms to monitor smuggling, fishing

Unicusano and ESA oversee ships, activities from space

15 June, 12:16

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JUNE 15 - Satellites and artificial intelligence are being used to monitor the Mediterranean, find ships operated by migrant smugglers and discover illegal fishing activities. The initiative is part of the project ''Advanced Maritime Targets Recognition from SAR images exploiting target's micro motions and AI'', funded with 70,000 euros through the platform ''The Open Space Innovation'' of ESA (European Space Agency). The project will involve a team of Italian and foreign universities over the next three years, including the Università Niccolò Cusano. The new technology will allow to monitor and identify vessels operating illegally in the Mediterranean to prevent, for example, excessive fishing or illegal immigration: ships operated by smugglers will be more easily detected by coast guards and the Navy.

    The project involves, along with the online university, also the Università Giustino Fortunato in Benevento, the defense ministry and the Scottish university of Strathclyde and consists in the ability to extract ''micro-motions'', or small vibrations produced for example by the engines of vessels and classify them through artificial intelligence techniques. Through an algorithm able to combine satellite radar images with artificial intelligence, it will be possible to detect the activities of vessels. The validation of algorithms will be based on real data from satellites Sentinel-1 of the Copernicus program managed by the European Community and ESA and the constellation Cosmo-SkyMed promoted and funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) in collaboration with the defense ministry. The satellites are equipped with radars that are able to emit and receive radio wave impulses to create very detailed images of the observed surfaces. This type of radar can function everywhere and always, regardless of light and weather conditions. (ANSAmed)

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