DARPA takes the IoT to sea

The Ocean of Things program envisions a network of low-cost, sensor-enabled floats that collect, transmit and analyze environmental data via satellite for real-time monitoring of maritime activity.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Ocean of Things (OoT) program is picking up steam.

Today's internet-of-things sensors collect data on electric grid performance, fleet management, earthquakes and storm water runoff.   In the open ocean, however, it has been impractical to deploy such connected sensors, due to the vastness of the sea and the sparseness of the data. That means situational awareness data can only be collected from sensors on military and commercial vessels or from remote sensors, which are subject to constraints from the physical environment, such as fog, rain or cloud cover.

The OoT program aims to change that.  First announced in 2017, the initiative envisions a network of small, low-cost, sensor-enabled floats that collect, transmit and analyze environmental data via satellite for real-time monitoring of maritime activity. The distributed sensor network will be made up of thousands of floats that monitor ocean temperature, sea state and location and activity of maritime vessels, aircraft and even marine mammals. The floats would transmit data periodically via satellite to a cloud network for storage and real-time analysis.

OoT floats rely on low-cost commercial hardware and sensors, which allows for the manufacture of a large number of floats carrying different sensors to cover large ranges and provide robust data from areas where limited visibility exists today. With efficient signal processing the floats can conserve energy and the limited communications bandwidth available. The environmentally friendly floats are designed to minimize the use of plastics, avoid interaction with wildlife, avoid protected areas and safely degrade once they have exceeded their lifespan.

Examples of data collected from the floats include sea surface/air temperature, acoustic ambient noise, wind speed, wave dynamics, float motion, generation of vessel tracks, multi-spectral vessel signatures, and vessel behavior, according to DARPA. OoT also requires advanced analytics to predict and track the health and location of the floats and to process the collected data for oceanographic and meteorological models as well as vessel detection.

Cloud-based data analytics will depend on machine learning to uncover insights from sparse data.

“We’re actually trying to process at the edge, and that’s a real hard challenge that we’re just now getting to,” John Waterston, a program manager within DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, told Signal Magazine. “We’re doing a DevOps environment in the Amazon Web Services GovCloud.”

Among the tools DARPA is using are edge software and a smart IoT management platform from Numurus. "These tools together produce a full-spectrum sensor-to-cloud solution capable of detecting minor changes in the environment, reducing megabytes of sensor data into kilobytes of information at the collection source, and transmitting that information through Iridium satellites to a secure firewalled cloud infrastructure," according to the company.   

In the second phase of the program, DARPA is looking to advance early solutions to its twin technical challenges – float development and data analysis – and is holding events with potential float design proposers and data analytics users.

The OoT program is part of DARPA's "mosaic warfare" concept in which individual warfighting and sensor platforms can be assembled like tiles into a system large enough to overwhelm the enemy.

NEXT STORY: Faster, safer bridge inspections

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.