US Coast Guard partners with Scottish startup Zelim on AI SAR development

The US Coast Guard Research and Development Center has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Zelim, a start-up based in Edinburgh, Scotland, to jointly explore the potential application of AI-enabled detection and tracking technology in search and rescue.

Over the last three years, Zelim has been developing ZOE, a system that employs AI to detect and track multiple people, boats or target objects in the water by day or night, in various weather conditions. The technology can aid the search operator by consistently scanning the searched area looking for anomalies and providing visual and audible alerts.

“The Coast Guard Research and Development Center investigates and develops methodologies and technologies to improve Coast Guard Mission Performance. Both the Research and Development Center and Zelim are interested in better understanding the potential contribution of AI detection technologies to improve maritime safety, security, and stewardship,” said Captain Chien, Commanding Officer of the USCG RDC.

The main objective of the agreement is to determine methods to evaluate the effectiveness of AI technology with unclassified optical sensors in a variety of environmental conditions. This will require the Coast Guard and Zelim to scientifically develop an objective method for determining AI technology effectiveness compared to current standards.

“We have developed ZOE as a tool to support search and rescue units, making it easier for them to spot and track multiple people and boats in the water, whatever the conditions. We are extremely proud to be partnering with the US Coast Guard, who operate the world’s largest SAR fleet,” said Doug Lothian CTO of Zelim.

“Bringing their operational experience into the project is vital to making sure the technology meets the needs of SAR operators now and in the future.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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