10 Oct

Multi-Sensor Offshore Safety system (SOS)

  • Sensing and Control Systems

Offshore activities, including maritime transport, face the inherent risk of loss of humans at sea. To address the need for an effective technology that can search the surface layer of the ocean and identify the exact location of a human in the surface layer, S[&]T created an 'automated watchman' system.

S[&]T, together with a consortium of partners, created a multi-sensor network solution that has several means to detect, characterise, classify and track humans going overboard in an all environmental conditions. The solution adapts and combines several sensor technologies that all have the ability to support the solution under various environmental conditions into one centralised overview and alert system. When used jointly and in-combination, the total capability is more reliable than industry standard, with a very low false-alarm rate. The initial project developed a prototype solution, and demonstrated the viability in partnership with leading end-users in the maritime industries. The sensor surveillance system was proven to support the shipmaster in detecting, characterising and tracking any humans outside the railings of a ship. 

The Multi-Sensor Offshore Safety system (SOS) is an industry-ready flexible single-purpose multi-sensor surveillance system prototype. This surveillance system provides a shipmaster with accurate situational awareness information of a ship’s immediate surroundings, particularly close to the ship hull (0-100 meters) with extended range aft of the ship (up to 2000 meters). It is a versatile multi-sensor technology system composed in a flexible network solution for 360 degrees surrounded view around the vessel with extended ocean surface layer observations ranges aft of the vessel. Since all and any sensor solution have a limited performance envelope in specific (environmental) conditions, SOS provides a cost-effective versatile sensor payload with a total performance providing very low false alarm rate in all environmental conditions. 

It combines short-range/’super’-resolution above surface observations (i.e. ACT-RAD, RFID-RAD, IRPC  technologies) with near surface and surface layer observations (LADAR technology), and shows the combined sensor observations on an existing display of a ship. In effect, this is a 24/7 surveillance system that warns the officer at the bridge (e.g. by alarms, warning lights, ship broadcast) when a human is detected going overboard.  It provides the officer with the possibility to act instead of react. An effective surveillance zone thereby created around a ship (e.g. passenger ship, oil/gas production platform, floating production unit, oil/gas transport vessel, etc.) where all objects (such as humans) are detected, characterized, classified (as a human or something else) and tracked,  enabling information relevant to surveillance to be processed and displayed in real-time. 

Although the required technology parts already existed in specific domains (military, space, automotive and maritime), it was not available as a system-of-sensors for the civilian shipping market for a reasonable price until now. 

For more information about SOS, or other sensor fusion applications, please contact Edo Loenen.