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RANGER: RAdars for loNG distance maritime surveillancE and SaR opeRations

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - RANGER (RANGER: RAdars for loNG distance maritime surveillancE and SaR opeRations)

Période du rapport: 2019-01-01 au 2019-12-31

Traditional watch-keeping methods including visual observation; the use of audible warnings such as foghorns, bridge-to-bridge Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communications and radar (including the Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) have all improved over the years but still suffer from lack of accuracy and time delays due to limited detection range. It is therefore imperative to exploit current and emerging technological advancements in view of providing the appropriate tools that, when combined with existing/legacy systems will be able to lead to significant reduction of the loss of lives at sea, a better control of irregular immigration entering the EU undetected, while safeguarding internal security by preventing cross-border crime such as trafficking and smuggling.

The most important contribution of RANGER will be to significantly progress the accuracy and long distance detection, identification and recognition capacity thus drastically improving the response and intervention capacity of European SaR services and personnel, severely reducing the expected number of casualties in the Mediterranean basin, whether it is the Greek archipelago, the southern Atlantic or the open seas of Italy and France, while being cost-efficient both in terms of ownership but also in terms of operations and maintenance.

RANGER innovates by combining novel and ground-breaking Radar technologies with innovative supporting technological solutions for early warning, in view of delivering a surveillance platform that will offer detection, recognition, and identification as well as tracking of suspicious vessels capabilities far beyond existing legacy radar systems, seamlessly fitting and contributing to the CISE framework through the provision of on-demand CISE compliant services.
The RANGER project, funded by the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme, successfully completed its lifecycle on the 31st of December 2019 after 44 months of research work.
It created an innovative surveillance platform by combining ground-breaking radar technologies with state of the art early warning solutions in order to detect, track, recognize and identify vessels far beyond existing legacy systems. The response times and interventions capacity of European Search and Rescue (SaR) services and personnel will drastically benefit from this platform thus positively impacting the safety in the Mediterranean basin (Greek archipelago, open sea of Italy and France).
The RANGER system as a whole has been fully implemented, integrated, tested and validated in 4 pilot demonstrations in two areas in the Mediterranean Sea (in France and Greece), in real operational environments. The results such as the detection capabilities of the Over-the-Horizon radar and the phonically enhanced MIMO radar, the multi-sensor multi-target tracking of the Data Fusion module, the unusual patterns identification, statistical behavioral analysis and early warnings provision of the Early Warning System and Machine Learning module, as well as the performance of the RANGER system as a whole are very promising.
Some of the most challenging aspects in maritime surveillance have been addressed by the project; continuous long range detection and tracking, short range detection and tracking of small vessels, prediction of vessel route, improved situational awareness and early warnings provision through novel data fusion and machine learning techniques, interoperability and seamless integration with legacy systems via a dedicated Uniform Communication Gateway, integration with Copernicus weather data, compatibility and integration with CISE (Common Information Sharing Environment), advanced visualization of the maritime picture for improved operations and decision making. RANGER was the first EU funded project that exchanged operation picture through CISE network with the Greek CISE node. All these results create new opportunities for enhanced EU maritime situational awareness, safety systems and operations, and cross-border collaboration.
Also, during the implementation of the RANGER project the consortium established liaisons with other similar EU funded projects in order to further communicate the solution that the RANGER system offers, evaluate its capabilities and provide recommendations and ideas for future exploitation.
The innovations that RANGER solution is bringing:
• Vessel detection and tracking in different maritime environments (Open sea – Greek Archipelago with numerous islands)
• Proof of concept with also the deployable versions for both radars (in France and in Greece)
• Development of PE-MIMO radar from scratch
• Creation of a patent entitled “Fernortungssystem und Verfahren zum Betreiben eines Fernortungssystems” (translated roughly to “Remote detection system and method for operation of a remote detection system”)
• Detection of different kind of vessels
• Data fusion from different sources (OTH – MIMO – AIS – Legacy)
• Creation of several Warnings/Alerts according to the operational needs
• Prediction of vessel route
• Integration with Copernicus weather data
• Interoperability with CISE
The above RANGER’s beyond the state of the art advances is going to make great impact in maritime domain and in general in European Union. The most important contribution of RANGER will be to significantly progress the accuracy and long distance detection in a low cost manner, thus drastically improving the response and intervention capacity of European SaR services and personnel, severely reducing the expected number of casualties in the Mediterranean basin, whether it is in close seas like Greek archipelago and/or the open seas of France and to provide a common operational picture through the CISE network.
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