The Ocean Cleanup developed a chain of algorithms to detect ghost nets on the surface of the ocean. These ghost nets indicate the presence of plastic around them. To detect moving objects, The Ocean Cleanup needed information in less than 24 hours. The workflow includes the acquisition of an image on the precise location of the floating barrier in the heart of the Pacific ocean, the automatic detection of ghost nets and the transmission of information to the team at sea.
Pléiades Tasking Helping to Clean the World’s Ocean
Airbus creates a bespoke tasking process to acquire high-resolution Pléiades imagery with the maximum reactivity level. In less than 16 hours, The Ocean Cleanup Research Centre orders and receives the tasking. From their office in Paris, they coordinate all the information transfer to the vessels in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from the floating barrier coordinates to the location of the ghost nets.
On 19th October 2018, the technical evaluation of the Pléiades tasking was launched, coupled with The Ocean Cleanup's ghost nets detection algorithm. The Pléiades image was delivered 16 hours after the confirmation of the floating barrier’ coordinates. Despite cloud-cover, 56% of the surface was still visible and 10 ghost nets were detected around the driftnet by the Ocean Cleanup algorithm. This experiment demonstrates the effectiveness of the detection method to provide reliable estimations of objects in the ocean.
Detecting ghost nets on a satellite images provides The Ocean Cleanup several operational advantages:
- Decision support to successfully operate the floating barrier
- Optimises the amount of plastic harvested
- Supplies fresh information to enable adjustment to the floating barrier for better accuracy
- Monitors water and sea state around the barrier and The Ocean Cleanup's vessels
“Coordination with the Airbus Tasking Team was a key factor in the success of this experiment which combined programming, algorithms and navigation. This experience makes it possible to consider many new ways of improving the detection of offshore plastic.”
Bruno Sainte Rose Fluid Mechanic Expert The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup, is a non-profit organisation founded in 2013 in The Netherlands by Boyan Slat. Today, with a team of 90 researchers, scientists and computational modellers, the NGO is developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.
See Our Products in Action
Detection and Observation of Toxic Gulfweed using SPOT 6/7The gorgeous island of Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean Sea has been hit by a plague, called sargasse. This toxic and pestilential gulfweed has been increasingly polluting the beaches of the island since 2011.
PASSAGES - Or Planning of Radar Tower Locations in the Northwest Passage with WorldDEMThe Northwest Passage, the connection between the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, is approximately 5,780km long. It runs through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and is a complex winding maze of channels, bays, and straits that pass through often ice-choked Arctic waters, an area virtually impassable in the past. However in recent years, due to climate change, both commercial and leisure traffic are now able to pass through this region.
RECCE Touch Software: Providing Real-Time Results to the Brazilian NavyThe new RECCE Touch software allows the Brazilian Navy to perform real-time on-board object recognition, thanks to a very intuitive interface and a database already containing more than 1,500 objects. This successful first implementation of RECCE Touch paves the way to other applications on-board helicopters, planes, vessels or armoured vehicles in the very near future.
Maritime Surveillance: Helping to Tackle Speeding TraffickersAmongst the most interesting challenges for law enforcement are small vessels that operate at very high speeds. Often described as ‘Go-Fast Boats’ or ‘Cigarette Boats’, they are frequently used to transport illegal drugs and other illicit goods. Airbus Defence and Space was recently asked to support authorities in the Caribbean to help understand the enforcement challenge presented by traffickers using high-powered boats.
Hijacked Oil Tanker found with the Help of PléiadesBy combining the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and the Pléiades satellites, Airbus helped locating the ARIS 13 oil tanker attacked by Somali pirates in only 2 days.
Do you have a similar project you would like to realise?