November 1, 2008
Recently, a team comprised of EdgeTech, Battelle and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport successfully demonstrated “Harbor Shied” technology – a scanning system to detect and locate anomalies on ship hulls as they enter port.
The technology was tested on vessels as small as a 30-foot skiff and located anomalies less than 1-foot in diameter. Intended to find mines, weapons of mass destruction and illegal drugs attached beneath the waterline, Harbor Shield will dramatically increase not only the speed at which vessels are inspected but also the number of ships inspected.
Currently, ships are screened when credible intelligence points to a need for an inspection. This time consuming process involves anchoring the ship away from the dock and sending divers down to manually look over entire hulls for attached objects. Harbor Shield will enable an uninterrupted flow of commerce while inspecting each and every vessel.
A database of hull images would be created and stored by Harbor Shield to be used to automatically compared to the next time the ship enters a Harbor Shield port. Alerts generated by detected anomalies will trigger secondary inspections and divers/ROV operators will have specific location information to assist them. The team is conducting further demonstrations and intends on producing a commercial system.