VIPE project: monitoring the vulnerability of port infrastructure from space

Two spin-offs of the Polytechnic University of Madrid: Detektia, experts  in  infrastructure  control  using satellite  RADAR technology, and Deep Insight, experts  in  the  development  of  integrated  services  for  port risk management, asked themselves:

Can we manage the vulnerability of port infrastructure from space in a cost-effective and reliable way?

The answer is YES and the VIPE project (monitoring the vulnerability of port infrastructure from space) is the appropriate tool to answer this question.

VIPE as a driver for new space in the port sector

The VIPE project has been funded in pre-commercial phase by the Ports 4.0 program of Puertos del Estado and Spanish Port Authorities. VIPE’s main objective is to develop a control, monitoring and early warning system based on the geometric evolution of damage in port infrastructures. This decision support tool integrates the latest satellite radar and artificial intelligence technologies at the service of risk management.

We are building the “port of the future” foundations. Two main pillars are digitalization and environmental, economic and social sustainability.

In this context, the assessment and management of the vulnerability and risks of port infrastructures is a key aspect. These support the port’s activities and constitute its main assets.

From the 1980s to present day, the information needed to identify threats and assess vulnerabilities came exclusively from in-situ monitoring.

We are at a time of paradigm shift in the identification of threats and assessment of vulnerabilities in port infrastructures.

We are currently at a paradigm shift. Satellite-borne sensing is already providing information that, combined with existing port measurement networks, will revolutionize the way we observe, interpret, manage and exploit our ports. 

The so-called new space is growing exponentially, transforming many sectors, and the port sector will be one of them.

The solution proposed in VIPE integrates satellite RADAR technology, artificial intelligence and data management platforms.

The satellite RADAR technology proposed for the project is called Differential Interferometry with Synthetic Aperture RADAR (DInSAR). This technology describes with millimeter accuracy the historical and current deformations of the terrain and infrastructures of any point on the planet, without the need for ground-based instrumentation. 

But VIPE goes beyond providing measurements and reports of changes, deformations and movements of port infrastructure.

The project includes the creation of artificial intelligence-based models that from DInSAR results and other data sources enable early detection of anomalies and indices that support decision making in the areas of:

  1. Infrastructure reliability
  2. Conservation and maintenance
  3. Design and execution of maritime or land-based works
  4. Capacity analysis
  5. Justification of investments
  6. Indirect monitoring of concessions and activities in concessioned areas

VIPE has a clear and demonstrable innovative component. VIPE team is not aware of any integrations of satellite RADAR technology with algorithms based on artificial intelligence in any port system in the world. 

In our specific case we propose to make VIPE technology available to the Port Authorities of Bahia de Algeciras, Huelva and Castellon.

The tool is deployed in the port’s IT infrastructure following agile,  API FIrst design methodologies  and microservices architecture.

One of the great advantages of this proposal is to have three ports of general interest in which they wish to support the integration of the project results. The differences in their physical and logical architectures validate the robustness and agility of our integration model.

Author: Candela Sancho

Expert in the analysis of natural and anthropogenic processes driving ground deformation. She has worked at the Department of Geosciences of the CSIC-Jaume Almera Institute (Barcelona, Spain) and at the Department of Tectonophysics of the University of Utrecht (Utrecht, The Netherlands).