Zelim to Develop AI for USCG SAR
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Research and Development Center has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Zelim, a startup based in Edinburgh, Scotland, to jointly explore the potential application and effectiveness of AI-enabled detection and tracking technology in search and rescue (SAR).
Finding someone in the water is the most fundamental challenge that SAR organizations face around the world. Over the last century, this task has been undertaken by SAR units, their pilots and, more recently, drone pilots who often scan the sea surface for hours looking for an object no larger than a football, as much of the human body remains hidden below the surface.
Over the last three years, Zelim has been developing ZOE, a solution that employs AI to detect and track multiple people, boats or target objects in the water by day or night, storm or fog. Like the driving aids that reduce driver fatigue, provide hazard alerts and timely information in cars, ZOE aids the search operator by consistently scanning the searched area looking for anomalies and providing visual and audible alerts.
The U.S. Coast Guard has identified in its strategic plan that rapidly advancing technologies, including those in artificial intelligence and machine learning, need to be harnessed for possible use in mission execution. The ability to detect, locate, characterize, identify, and track people or objects in the water in near real time or real time has the potential to improve mission support to meet the needs of the Coast Guard today and in the foreseeable future.
The overarching objective of the CRADA is to determine methods to evaluate the effectiveness of AI technology with unclassified optical sensors in various environmental conditions. This will require the Coast Guard and Zelim to scientifically develop an objective method for determining AI technology effectiveness compared to current accepted standards.