NARAS is an ESA project carried out by S.A.T.E. Srl (as prime contractor), MARIN (the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands), and Planetek Italia Srl, aiming at the improvement of safety in critical maritime operations. 


With the increased frequency of shipping activities, such as tourism and transport of freights, navigation safety has become a major concern. Even if new technologies have already supplied aids to pilots for navigation risk reduction, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) reports that the majority of accidents could have been avoided by providing suitable input to the navigation decision-making process. This is where Earth Observation (EO) data can represent complementary information, to improve traffic monitoring and guidance along safe routes.

NARAS Capabilities

Employing the potentialities resulting from the combined exploitation of EO and Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, NARAS has the purpose to:

  • Extract preferred routes that can be suggested to ships in a certain area, based on the ship’s characteristics and on the environmental conditions;
  • Observe objects in the sea not transmitting AIS (i.e. non-collaborative objects that are not transmitting an AIS signal, such as wind/solar offshore farms or lost containers);
  • Monitor areas in the sea (e.g. to monitor an area or objects lost at sea after an accident);
  • Verify quality of the AIS (e.g. to verify the quality or the precision of the AIS signal or to check if AIS base stations are working correctly);
  • Predict trajectories of floating objects (as the drift of an object, e.g. a container, lost at sea depends on its drift properties – this might be more challenging as it requires high-resolution satellite images to estimate different characteristics of the vessel).

Adjust in real-time the preferred routes recommended to ships, based on the position and trajectory of non-collaborative objects.


Limit human error in navigation

With the use of AI assistance NARAS can significantly reduce the possibility or the consequences of human error in navigation

Improve existing risk assesment models

Improve maritime risk assessment models and mitigate the risk of collision with early warning

Iceberg monitoring and route optimization

NARAS can detect and monitor icebergs and optimize the route to avoid dangerous routes that could cause issues in the transportation


Key technology for safe navigation

GNSS and its augmentation systems will represent the key enabling technology to attain safety of navigation, especially considering systems providing accuracy and integrity information

Improvements on the AIS system

EO data can be used to detect sailing vessels with no AIS receiver and to compare the AIS position versus position detected in optical and SAR images

Real-time updates on preferred routes

NARAS aims at expanding the Preferred Route concept by exploiting the combination of EO and GNSS to improve navigation risk modelling and provide near real-time updates on preferred routes for navigating ships