Industry News

Vineyard Wind Partners with Charles River Analytics to Enhance Marine Mammal Detection

Vineyard Wind and Charles River Analytics announced a new collaboration aimed at further protecting marine mammals during the construction of the Vineyard Wind 1 project. As part of the effort, Vineyard Wind will employ Awarion™ technology for marine mammal, ship, and fishing gear detection.

The technology is being provided by Charles River Analytics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research and development firm.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Charles River Analytics to advance local technologies focused on reducing the risk of vessel collision with marine fauna,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller. “This partnership is being supported with funding from the Innovations Marine Mammals Program, which was created by Vineyard Wind 1 to enable the development and demonstration of innovative methods and technologies to enhance protections for marine mammals as the Massachusetts and US offshore wind industry grows.”

Awarion™ is an artificial intelligence and computer vision system that complements and supports human lookouts and marine radar systems. The technology uses electro-optical and infrared video to detect, analyze, and report on the presence of whales, ships, and other objects, including fishing buoys and equipment, at long distances.

“The knowledge we’ve gained through working with marine mammal experts at the New England Aquarium and veteran mariners has been incorporated into this technology,” said Ross Eaton, Principal Scientist and Director of Marine Systems at Charles River Analytics. “Awarion™ is a ‘win-win’ for our team in that it combines marine science and cutting-edge technology that will have a positive impact on the natural environment.”

“Object detection and avoidance are critical to the successful construction, operation, and maintenance of offshore wind projects,” said Elaine B. Coleman, Ph.D., Vice President of Commercialization at Charles River Analytics. “In addition to vessels and fishing gear, Awarion™ is uniquely designed to aid Protected Species Observers’ (PSOs) efforts to detect and protect the area’s marine mammals.”

Vineyard Wind, an 800-megawatt project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, create 3,600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) job years, save customers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road annually.

Vineyard Wind will begin delivering clean energy to Massachusetts in 2023.

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