Charles River Analytics announced that its Awarion Autonomous Lookout System was selected as a groundbreaking innovation by Popular Science. Awarion, which is currently being deployed to assist marine mammal protection measures during offshore wind farm construction, was named a Popular Science 2023 “Best of What’s New” award winner in the engineering category.
Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations. To win a “Best of What’s New” award, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category.
Awarion, an artificial intelligence and computer-vision system that complements and supports human lookouts and marine radar systems, caught the attention of Popular Science editors due to the novel application of AI and computer vision to help advance visual monitoring capabilities designed to protect marine mammals during offshore wind development.
Awarion 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 system is being tested on Vineyard Wind 1, the United States’ first commercial-scale offshore wind project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
“Since 1988, Popular Science has proudly celebrated the groundbreaking innovations changing our world,” said Annie Colbert, technology editor-in-chief. “The Best of What’s New Awards showcase the year’s radical ideas that are improving our everyday lives and our futures.”
Ross Eaton, principal scientist and director of marine systems at Charles River Analytics, noted that the award is an exciting win for the Awarion team. “It is incredibly rewarding to develop technology that can play an important role in conservation, climate change mitigation, and marine safety,” he said. “To have that work acknowledged by Popular Science is just outstanding. I couldn’t be more proud of our entire team.”
Richard Wronski, division vice president at Charles River Analytics, added that Vineyard Wind shares in the win. “Vineyard Wind deserves recognition for deploying cutting-edge technology that can benefit the offshore wind industry and the broader shipping industry as a whole,” Wronski said. “They led the way in realizing Awarion’s potential as a support for human lookouts in the protection of marine mammals.”