MA - Vineyard Wind adopts marine mammal detection tech

US offshore wind developer has entered into a partnership with Massachusetts outfit Charles River Analytics

Vineyard Wind and Charles River Analytics have entered into a collaboration aimed at further protecting marine mammals during the construction of the 800MW Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind project.

As part of the effort, Vineyard Wind will employ artificial intelligence-based software, called Awarion, for marine mammal, ship, and fishing gear detection.

The technology is being provided by Charles River Analytics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research and development firm.

“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,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus Moeller.

“This partnership is being supported with funding from the Innovations Marine Mammals Program, which was created by Vineyard Wind 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.”

Awarion is an artificial intelligence and computer vision system that complements and supports human lookouts and marine radar systems.

The technology uses electro-optical and infrared video to detect, analyse, and report on the presence of whales, ships, and other objects, including fishing buoys and equipment, at long distances.

“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.”

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