UAVaid and Archangel Imaging are delighted to announce the launch of Project SEAWATCH, with funding awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Future Flight Challenge Phase 3 programme.

Project SEAWATCH will develop the critical technology for a new airborne surveillance system that combines the operational benefits of drones with cutting-edge machine vision AI (artificial intelligence) to create a low-cost solution for the aerial monitoring of coastal waters, improving Safety at Sea and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) protection.

SeaWatch aims to leverage innovation advances in both ‘drone’ Unmanned Aviation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer processing, to develop an aircraft system capable of patrolling coastal waters for a fraction of the current cost and resource footprint, automatically identifying and classifying vessels in the water, and alerting the relevant authorities to help save lives and protect the EEZ.

The project will support the safe and secure use of the UK’s coastal waters, creating new capabilities for the cost effective monitoring of coastal resources. With strong export potential, the platform will create new and affordable opportunities for developing countries as they grapple with the impact of climate change on their coastal and fishing communities.

The support from UKRI through the Future Flight Challenge programme will enable the consortium members , already leaders in their individual respective fields, to develop the necessary technologies to realise this vision.

Daniel Ronen, co-founder of UAVaid said, “We are delighted and grateful to UKRI for the funding to enable the development of the critical innovation for Project SEAWATCH. This project represents a significant opportunity to bring together the benefits of unmanned aviation and artificial intelligence for improving safety at sea and security for coastal water users, domestically and for export markets.”

Charles Smith, CCO at Archangel Imaging said, “The investment as part of the Future Flight Challenge enables us to further develop our AI and deliver real-world benefits to both users and those that Seawatch will help to protect. We see low-cost monitoring in difficult environments as a key challenge for AI and an area of focus for Archangel Imaging. We are delighted to be a part of this project and to continue our strong working relationship with UAVaid.”