According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the nation’s 360 ports and waterways remain especially vulnerable to attack from small vessels carrying improvised explosive devices, including radioactive dirty bombs. Intellicheck Mobilisa, a wireless-technology firm, will address the vulnerability with Aegeus, a buoy system that communicates in real time to the shore.
Aegeus is a constellation of high-tech sensor buoys configured with latest-generation wireless communications. The buoys operate autonomously, track ships, and detect objects in air, water, or underwater within a range of 17.5 miles. Equipped with advanced environmental and security system sensors, the buoys share data and network buoy-to-buoy, buoyto- shore, and at-sea platforms. The buoy sensors include day/night video, acoustic modem, environmental, oil sensing, radiation hazard detection, and advanced homeland security sensors to extend the protection zone around harbors, ports, and seaways.
Currently there are multiple test buoys, deployed by the U.S. Navy, in the Potomac River and in the Puget Sound region. Two basic configurations have been deployed; one is a security configuration and the other is an environmental/video surveillance configuration.
In conjunction with the Aegeus deployment, a complex network architecture has been developed to fuse and assimilate collected data. The arrangement includes a Web-based portal accessible by a Network Operations Center (NOC) to a secure database. The network incorporates shore-based equipment, which features radars and long-range pan tilt zoom (PTZ) day/night cameras with the Aegeus buoy system. In concert, the systems present crucial information gained in the field and provide the ability to analyze and respond accordingly.
The surface security buoys, modular in construction, house an array of sensors, which transmit to shore using Intellicheck Mobilisa’s Wireless Over Water™ (WOW) technology and other telemetry systems. Installed sensors include: radiation hazard (RADHAZ) detection; day, thermal, and low-level light cameras providing streaming video; weather station; global positioning system (GPS); digital compass; radio; cell; and a maintenance-free power generation subsystem that capitalizes on solar energy for recharging the battery bank.
The buoys are designed to be configurable and adaptable to varying mission requirements. A single buoy, for example, can be assembled as a port security buoy and then modified later as a communications link, an oil spill detection buoy, or a combination of each.
The environmental/video surveillance buoys include a weather station, environmental sonde, GPS, PTZ day/Low Level Light camera, digital compass, cell and radio subsystem, as well as a more robust “hybrid” power system that combines wind and solar generation. The Oil Sensing configuration spots surface oil contamination, and the preferred sensor detects refined or crude oil products. With the onboard wind and current direction/speed sensors, an alert can be sent to a NOC, and prediction of speed and direction of plume drift can be made. By receiving the indicator miles out in a channel or to sea, authorities may be notified and halt a ship’s entry into territorial waters.
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