Software to enhance and leverage the discovery of the location and size of waste accumulations in the oceans WOSUP Removing rubbish from the oceans!

The WOSUP project is based on the removal of waste accumulations in the oceans, more precisely the removal of plastic and its derivatives.

It lists software-based mechanisms to enhance and leverage the discovery and processing of the location and dimension of waste accumulations, in order to subsequently notify specialised vessels to collect the plastic, providing them with the location, dimension and best route to optimise the vessel’s voyage taking into account the dimensions of the waste it can carry.

With a more assertive identification of the large concentrations of waste in the ocean and creating the necessary conditions to increase the efficiency of the collection activity, the volume of plastic collected based on the solution to be developed is expected to be much higher than that collected today, also ensuring a greater volume of plastic whose destination will be recycling or reuse.


WOSUP aims to integrate and process satellite images.

The creation of algorithms for the detection of types of plastics in the oceans and the generation of operational reports and optimised collection routes, promoting the rapid and serial collection of waste for subsequent reuse or recycling, and it is precisely in this field that there is a contribution to increasing the efficiency of resources linked to companies in the maritime sector, as stated in the application notice. In other words, efficiency is achieved through the optimisation of waste collection routes by companies whose core activity is waste collection, with the optimisation resulting from greater clarity regarding the location of large concentrations of waste, their size and even categorisation of the type of waste, allowing these companies to define in advance what type of vessel they need to collect the waste they spot and the best route to collect the largest possible volume of waste, always bearing in mind that waste is easily “moved around” due to ocean currents.

How it works

One of the differentiating factors of this project is the platform's ability to integrate any type of data sources. In this case, satellite and drone images will be used, however, the platform will be built with future integrations in mind, and its contact interfaces with the data sources are completely domain or application case agnostic. Once the images have been integrated into the platform, it will be able to catalogue them and understand how best to process them, i.e. in the base model of the platform, there will be a panoply of algorithms custom-designed to solve the base use case already described. The images will then be processed by these algorithms which will produce the knowledge required to operate the system. The most innovative types of software architectures (serverless, microservices, etc.) will be evaluated for processing the satellite images, with the main aim of creating a platform capable of responding to the needs addressed to it but which optimises its costs dynamically and automatically.
The algorithms to be built during the project will be carried out with the use case of plastic detection in the ocean in mind. That is, image analysis algorithms will be built that allow understanding what is in the image, what kind of density the waste accumulation has, and what state of degradation the existing plastics are in. Furthermore, these algorithms will also be able to predict the number of boats needed to remove all the accumulated waste. Thus, in the first phase, the algorithms of the state of the art in image analysis and feature extraction will be analysed, which later guarantee the possibility of a second scan of the image for the cataloguing and extraction of knowledge to be used in the reports that will be generated by the platform.
From the operational point of view of the system, it is essential to have a way to make the connection between all the algorithms and mechanisms of the platform with its end users. This connection should be made in a succinct and objective way without there being many technical details underlying the platform, focusing the information communicated in the reports on the profile of its users and the information necessary for the operation they have to perform. The reports referred to are then the culmination of all the processing carried out on the platform's data sources and provide clear information supporting the collection of marine litter accumulations. Thus, these reports should contain at least,

-the location,
-the size,
-type of waste,
-the collection route to optimise the chosen vessel.

The reports should also contain a decision-support section suggesting improvement measures to help support the most sustainable collection process (e.g. suggesting different types of vessels where appropriate).
Finally, another very important innovative feature for the local and central economy that can make communities, localities and countries greener little by little is listed. This feature is the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Indicators. The developments of this project will be very much guided by the targets set in these indicators, helping communities to become more environmentally friendly and to play a leading role in the ocean ecosystem.

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Founded in 2007 in Aveiro, Ubiwhere is a high-tech company focused on developing and researching cutting-edge technology, on conceiving smart and sustainable solutions for Smart Cities and Future Telecommunications.

We promote a more sustainable world with a higher quality of life for citizens, responding to the needs associated with the evolution of technology and networks of the future and strengthening urban services that promote better management of Mobility, Energy, Waste and Tourism in cities.

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