For Immediate Release: April 14, 2021
By Felipe Reisch, Office of Naval Research Global
Santiago, Chile—The Avante 2020 Challenge, with the financial support of the local Naval Polytechnic Academy through its INNOVAPOLINAV program, the Production Development Corporation (CORFO), and the Office of Naval Research Global, selected two winning teams to develop a technological solution to a set of problems proposed by the Chilean Navy.
Relevant real time operational information on Chile's maritime domain is a pervasive challenge and is necessary to identify threats to Chile's security, economy, and environment. In this this context, the Avante Challenge 2020 was launched with the goal to find creative ideas that employ technologies to significantly improve control over the maritime domain awareness (MDA) at low cost and within five months, following the successful Hacking for Defense (H4D) model used by the US Navy and the Office of Naval Research.
The Avante 2020 Challenge has the financial support of the Naval Polytechnic Academy through its INNOVAPOLINAV program, CORFO and the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global). ONR Global’s contribution amounts to the sum of US$ 255,000 and considers the launch of a second H4D challenge to address some of the identified problems that could not be solved in the first edition.
Participating teams, 46 in total, sought to solve one or more of the challenges posed by the Chilean Navy, which focused on four groups: Illegal landings on the north coast; illegal fishing in Chilean jurisdictional waters to obtain evidence for competent judicial bodies; anomalous behaviors in ships and vessels that transit through national maritime areas and finally, non-collaborative ships.
On March 30, nine finalists presented their projects to an evaluation panel who selected the following two winning teams to develop and demonstrate prototypes in five months:
First place, US$ 50,000 award: Acústica Marina. The team is developing a vessel detection system using hydroacoustic technology with real-time data processing in order to improve the quality of information and optimize the inspection operations of smaller vessels on the north coast of the country.
Second place, US$ 40,000 award: IA Grafimar. The team is automating the analysis of maritime traffic in real time, increasing the capacity of the Chilean Navy to detect illegal acts and direct search and rescue operations at sea using Artificial Intelligence.
Sonia Wolff, associate science director for ONR Global Santiago, said, “Considering all the areas of responsibility that the state of Chile has, approximately 26.5 million square kilometers, to solve this problem, a system of systems approach is needed. There is no single technological solution that can satisfy all requirements. We will be looking closely to the winning teams’ ability to design an innovative prototype that demonstrates this ability and that is likely to lead to the creation of a spin-off company and new products.”
ONR Global sponsors scientific efforts outside of the U.S., working with scientists and partners worldwide to discover and advance naval capabilities.