News Item

Passive radar for European shipping

A European project uses ‘passive bistatic radar’ technology, based on Galileo transmissions, to detect all shipping.

The 'SPYGLASS' technology uses a receiver on Galileo frequencies in a ‘passive bistatic radar’ (PBR) concept,. The receiver can be installed on a buoy or a tethered balloon to increase coverage. The receiver then records Galileo signals that naturally bounce off moving ships, and processes them alongside directly-received signals to provide estimates of each ship’s relative range and speed.

The European project is close to the validation of a prototype. Once finalised, it could help authorities to assure better maritime surveillance, detection and location, even of non-indexed ships - in contrast to AIS.

In 2014 for example, >6,000 accidents involving ships were reported to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). And whilst various European projects have set out to tackle the problem, existing systems are still based on Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders - collision-avoidance technology requiring cooperative transmitting targets.

The consortium behind the SPYGLASS (Galileo-based Passive Radar System for Maritime Surveillance) project argues that in many circumstances AIS is unfit for duty. Indeed, non-cooperative vessels - which often conduct illicit activities such as smuggling, illegal fishing, oil pollution or illegal immigration - are not equipped with AIS for obvious reasons, and cannot be identified or located.

The €1.3 million project builds upon the idea that the solution to this problem lies in PBR technology. The technology is claimed to be low-cost, allows covert operation and reduces environmental impact - with the potential to resolve the maritime safety issue once and for all.

Details from the link below . .

  • 05 March 2017
  • RIN

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