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Nautical Evaluation of Mammal Observations (NEMO)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: W911NF-17-C-0003
Agency Tracking Number: D162-015-0077
Amount: $154,893.84
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: SB162-015
Solicitation Number: 2016.2
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-02-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-03-14
Small Business Information
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
DUNS: 115243701
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Mr. Ross Eaton
 Senior Scientist
 (617) 491-3474
Business Contact
 Mark Felix
Phone: (617) 491-3474
Research Institution

To protect marine mammals from ship strikes and sonar exposure, teams of human watchstanders maintain a tedious, costly, and daylight-only visual lookout. However, manned search is impossible on unmanned vessels like DARPAs ACTUV. Automated video search can provide affordable surface detections without human fatigue, and automated acoustic search can provide detections below the surface, but both approaches have limitations: IR only works in cold environments and hydrophones provide unreliable localizations. We propose Nautical Evaluation of Mammal Observations (NEMO), which combines EO, IR, and hydrophone sensors to enable long-duration surface and subsurface detection and classification (acoustic) coupled with high fidelity surface detection, classification, and localization in environments from cold or dark (IR) to warm or bright (EO). NEMOs Vision Module uses a coarse-to-fine approach combining state-of-the-art saliency analysis, appearance based detection, and deep learning classification in EO and IR to produce reliable, real-time marine mammal detection in all lighting and temperature environments. These visual search results are probabilistically fused with a best-of-breed commercial acoustic processing solution to produce detections with associated confidences in real-world coordinates. These detections can be used by an external autonomy system to select actions that best balance the conservation of at-risk marine mammals with mission objectives.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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