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New algorithms for vessel and object detection

KSAT is using their satellite imagery to detect and monitor vessels at sea. Developing new algorithms for automatic vessel and object detection is of great importance to support applications such as traffic monitoring in shipping lanes, pollution, fishing, and unusual activity. Visual Intelligence collaborates with KSAT to develop these new algorithms that will improve the existing maritime surveillance services.

Vessel detection from satellite imagery. Image: KSAT

There are many challenges related to the detection of small objects as they encompass multiple clutter distributions, imbalanced classes, as well as the issue of noisy labels and low resolution.

Moreover, it is of paramount relevance - especially for operational scenarios - to provide a quantification of the confidence that can be associated with the outcomes produced by object detection platforms. For these reasons, research on new deep learning approaches to address these points is necessary.

Specifically, the results of these schemes will help in detecting small objects in water areas, as well as tracking vessels from harbor to open water, possibly combining multiple sensors (e.g., remote sensing data and AIS records) to improve the precision of the methods.

For vessel and object detection from satellites, Visual Intelligence will exploit available labelled training data that have been collected over time by KSAT operators through the manual quality assurance procedures in their semi-automated ship detection services. Our research activities will target the training of neural networks under the constraint of limited training data. It is of interest to be able to assess the confidence and the reliability of the detections.

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