Wuhan Ligong Daxue Xuebao (Jiaotong Kexue Yu Gongcheng Ban)/Journal of Wuhan University of Technology (Transportation Science and Engineering)

About the Journal

[This article belongs to Volume - 47, Issue - 01]

Abstract :

A wide range of research activities exploit spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) for applications that contribute to maritime safety and security. An important requirement of SAR and AIS data fusion is accurate data association (or correlation), which is the process of linking SAR ship detections and AIS observations considered to be of a common origin. The data association is particularly difficult in dense shipping environments, where ships detected in SAR imagery can be wrongly associated with AIS observations. This often results in an erroneous and/or inaccurate maritime picture. Therefore, a classification-aided data association technique is proposed which uses a transfer learning method to classify ship types in SAR imagery. Specifically, a ship classification model is first trained on AIS data and then transferred to make predictions on SAR ship detections. These predictions are subsequently used in the data association which uses a rank-ordered assignment technique to provide a robust match between the data. Two case studies in the UK are used to evaluate the performance of the classification-aided data association technique based on the types of SAR product used for maritime surveillance: wide-area and large-scale data association in the English Channel and focused data association in the Solent. Results show a high level of correspondence between the data that is robust to dense shipping or high traffic, and the confidence in the data association is improved when using class (i.e., ship type) information.