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8.2.6 Next Generation Marine Visibility (FOG) Sensors


Summary: A new method and technology for remotely monitoring fog is needed to support physical oceanographic real time measurements for maritime commerce support. The current generation visibility sensors use a lot of power and infer visibility during reduced visibility at a local sensor nearest out 5 to 10 miles. To heat and remove condensation, they require commercial power. There is a model that uses large battery packs with large solar recharging for remote locations that has limited reliability, accuracy and precision. The current system has a high maintenance and replacement cost.


Project Goals: A technological leap is needed to provide remote autonomous real time visibility determination for maritime operations throughout the United States and its territories. Human watch standers at at USCG Vessel Traffic Service & Port Security Command Centers have interpolated the range and distance to incoming fog banks as have Marine Vessel Pilots and Navigators for over 50 years. Video cameras have indirectly tracked and measured distances to multiple fixed targets to determine relative visibility conditions over an entire bay or water way. This technological leap will create an autonomous low cost easily maintained (or renewed) very low power near real time detection and measurement system perhaps using grey scale analysis that has been applied to port access and vehicle under carriage security (explosive detection) monitoring operations. Images will be transmitted over our web services directly to communities, port authorities, navigation centers, & maritime operators in every coast, seaport, river, harbor, and inlet. The application may even find traction with the National Weather Service (NWS) for airport visibility monitoring.

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