Ship Detection & Tracking

Near-Real-Time Surveillance of Shipping Traffic
Maritime Monitoring - Ship Detection

Airbus Defence and Space provides an integrated ship detection and tracking service covering all steps from satellite tasking through processing and AIS signal matching to delivery of ship detection information.

Ship Detection and Tracking - Localisation of vessels and small-sized boats with Pleiades-1A

Localisation of vessels and small-sized boats with Pleiades-1A © CNES 2012

The robust end-to-end Ship Detection & Tracking Service capitalises on Airbus Defence and Space’s unique access to a comprehensive range of SPOT, Pléiades and FORMOSAT-2 optical satellite sensors, and TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellite sensors:

  • SAR satellite data: all-weather, day/night monitoring and fully automated feature extraction enabling fast processing of large volumes of data and information delivery within only ~15 minutes of image acquisition
  • Optical satellite data: delivery of detailed feature information also on low-dielectric-property targets (e.g. fibreglass boats) and sophisticated target identification capabilities.
Key Benefits
  • Detection of small vessels and boats down to 5 m length
  • Near-real-time information delivery within ~ 15 min. of image acquisition
  • Detailed information on ship characteristics (position, dimensions, heading, velocity)
  • Interconnection with AIS information
  • Urgent tasking within only 8 hrs
Ship Detection and Tracking - TerraSAR-X based ship detection in the Gulf of Mexico visualised in Google Earth

TerraSAR-X based ship detection in the Gulf of Mexico visualised in Google Earth

Airbus Defence and Space provides enhanced situational awareness by complementing optical and SAR imagery analysis with additional AIS (Automatic Identification System) matching.
This supports:

  • Identification of AIS non-cooperative ships
  • AIS information reliability estimation based on ship parameter correlation
  • AIS ship tracking on the basis of correlated AIS information in times between satellite data takes
  • Ship identification based on (reliability proven) AIS and ship register information.

Client-tailored sub-services

Airbus Defence and Space’s Ship Detection and Tracking Services efficiently support specific customer and application needs, through the following customised sub-services:

Identification of the hijacked MV Sirius Star anchored at the Somali port of Harardhere

Identification of the hijacked MV Sirius Star anchored at the Somali port of Harardhere

Traffic Monitoring & Early-Warning Service

  • Continuous, wide-area ship detection and tracking, recognition of suspicious behaviour/potential threats
  • Detailed information gathering and target identification by experienced image analysts in the event of recognised suspicious behaviour
  • Urgent tasking: short-term priority satellite programming
  • Near-real-time information delivery

Interception Mission Support Service

  • High-frequency detection and identification of small vessels and boats (“go fasts”) down to a length of 5 m within a limited area and time frame
  • Customer-specific service definition and operation
  • Urgent tasking: short-term priority satellite programming
  • Near-real-time information delivery

Maritime Intelligence Service

  • Identification of typical behaviour, patterns, etc. of illegal activities based on statistical analysis: starting points, destinations, routes, hot spots
  • Baseline information for effective setup of 1) Traffic Monitoring & Early-Warning Service and 2) Interception Mission Support Service
  • Offline service: no near-real-time information delivery

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