Protecting Europe's extensive coastlines is a challenging, risky and costly endeavour, relying heavily on patrol boats and surveillance flights. The latest in electronic surveillance technology can help develop a reliable, continuous system for monitoring EU coasts. Funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the 'Autonomous maritime surveillance system' (AMASS) project has designed a reliable, round-the-clock maritime monitoring solution. This includes a flotation platform, optronics, hydrophones, communications, power management and image exploitation, as well as command and control. The system depends on a line of buoys – each equipped with the latest visual and acoustic sensors – located offshore to amass comprehensive data on movement and activities in Europe's territorial waters. When AMASS detects a suspicious vessel, it relays images directly to a control centre on shore, enabling coastguards and other services to take swift and appropriate action. Among the project's innovations is a thermal imaging camera. This uses very little energy, is lightweight, has long life expectancy, possesses a built-in image stabiliser and can withstand the harsh conditions at sea. The buoys are also equipped with state-of-the-art passive stabilisers.
Autonomous maritime surveillance system
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