At the end of 2022, Vineyard Wind and Charles River Analytics began a collaboration aimed at further protecting marine mammals during the construction of the Vineyard Wind 1 project.
Vineyard Wind, an 800-megawatt project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, create 3,600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) job years, save customers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road annually.
Charles River Analytics is providing its Awarion artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to Vineyard Wind to help detect the presence of marine mammal, ship, and fishing gear using Electro-Optical and Infrared (EO/IR) video streams.
Designed to deliver enhanced maritime situational awareness, these EO/IR methods provide much greater detail and resolution than radar, enabling superior detection probability and true autonomy.
Awarion can be attached to both manned and unmanned marine vessels to deliver persistent autonomous lookout capabilities, as well as trajectory modeling and threat assessment. The system complements and supports human lookouts and marine radar systems, providing advanced analyses, trajectory modeling, and threat assessment directly to the bridge.
“The knowledge we’ve gained through working with marine mammal experts at the New England Aquarium and veteran mariners has been incorporated into this technology,” said Ross Eaton, Principal Scientist and Director of Marine Systems at Charles River Analytics. “Awarion is a ‘win-win’ for our team in that it combines marine science and cutting-edge technology that will have a positive impact on the natural environment.”
“Object detection and avoidance are critical to the successful construction, operation, and maintenance of offshore wind projects,” said Elaine B. Coleman, Ph.D., Vice President of Commercialization at Charles River Analytics. “In addition to vessels and fishing gear, Awarion is uniquely designed to aid Protected Species Observers’ efforts to detect and protect the area’s marine mammals.”
Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller said: “We are excited about the opportunity to work with Charles River Analytics to advance local technologies focused on reducing the risk of vessel collision with marine fauna. This partnership is being supported with funding from the Innovations Marine Mammals Program, which was created by Vineyard Wind 1 to enable the development and demonstration of innovative methods and technologies to enhance protections for marine mammals as the Massachusetts and US offshore wind industry grows.”