ASIA-2220 - Automatic Ship Image Acquisition System

Automated camera system hardware

ASIA is an Omnitech Electronics designed and manufactured high-resolution camera system that autonomously locates and photographs target ships using AIS information and custom control software. The heart of the ASIA system is a professional-grade digital camera housed in an outdoor enclosure and mounted to a high-resolution pan-tilt unit. The camera functions, focus, zoom, and aperture are all controlled by a central processing unit. This processing unit collects AIS and weather information, controls the autonomous system functions and optionally presents the AIS target information as html/KML resources to local and remote GIS displays.

The goal of an ASIA system is to collect a database of high-quality images of vessels linked to their AIS data and identification. This image database can be used by port security groups to investigate vessel activity and enforce AIS information accuracies. The high-resolution images are more than 40x the resolution of 720p video and can be used to gather information such as name on vessel, fire exit locations, cargo configuration, container identification numbers, etc.

ASIA uses pre-image and post-image machine-learning software to screen and discard poor-quality images. The pre-filters evaluate weather conditions, time of day, estimated illumination and other factors that would result in poor images. The post-image filters analyze the resulting image characteristics and the target’s AIS data to calculate an estimated image quality. The filters are trained using a database of test images and can be retrained by operators with location-specific images. All filters are loaded dynamically as ‘plugins’. The plugin API allows new and additional filters to be added to the software at any time. Filters can be used to add user evaluated information to the photo database or can be set as the master image quality supervisor that controls whether an image is recorded into the 'high-quality photos' database for the target vessel.

All photo records, AIS, weather and image analysis information is stored in an ASIA station database. When new targets come within the photographic range, the software's 'photo manager module' (PMM) queries the database for all current images of the target vessel. The PMM then monitors photographic opportunities while the vessel is within range, and attempts to collect all target images from a defined set of views for each target in both day and night conditions. Targets can be classified and prioritized in several categories allowing users to define different image collections for different ships, types of ships, or AIS described activities.

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