ESA title

Virtual Watchkeeper

  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAMaritime and Aquatic

Objectives of the service

Galene is an intelligent bridge watch assistance system. It will form a valuable new tool for the Officer of the Watch (OOW), by complementing existing bridge equipment with Artificial intelligence, machine learning and sensor fusion, maximizing focus of the OOW reducing the risk and increasing efficiency. Galene will propel the merchant marine's navigational equipment into a new era.

Users and their needs

The Virtual Officer Galene will help our 1.6 million officers that currently have no easy-to-use, modern aiding technology. Though autonomous shipping might one day be a fact, semi-autonomous shipping using AI and sensor fusion is a prerequisite and  solves today’s urgent business needs.

The solutions envisioned are there to help the officer increase their efficiency, reducing time for mooring, knowing what is going on around him/her at a glance,   alerting them of incoming danger or unidentified vessels, offering a clear visual overview at night or during the day when crossing dense traffic areas. This data is then taken to a next level, and used to further increase the officers’ training and expertise by transmitting it to a shore-side simulation center, where it is analysed and can be used to create company specific training, and continuously improving the officers’ performance.

Service/ system concept

The Virtual Watchkeeper Galene introduces Intelligent awareness into the bridge equipment, by fusing data from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive overview of the vessel’s external situation. Our Virtual officer Galene will be deployable on any ship where there is a need for increased safety and efficiency, particularly during night-time sailings, heavy traffic areas, mooring or in adverse weather conditions but also to relieve the officer of many basic but time-consuming tasks such as auto logging or waiting for the pilot / supply vessel to arrive. Westray creates and develops an advisory solution to supplement basic information available from AIS, ECDIS and RADAR, adding  sensors to create an accurate overall view by applying sensor fusion and advanced AI algorithms. The Galene gives the officers on the bridge an advanced and enhanced decision tool. Westray knows its product and applications are a game changer for the entire marine industry. Our Virtual Watchkeeper provides the officer Of the Watch advanced decision support, becoming the new safety standard for the marine industry.

Space Added Value

Vessels and objects at sea (containers, buoys, people, marine life…) are detected by AI algorithms and tracked in time. A Kalman filter is a solution for the possible noise that is present on the detections of the bounding boxes (the prediction of the bounding boxes is never 100% accurate). Kalman filters predict the position of the bounding boxes in the future and with each new next bounding box detection he will update his current predicted position with the measured bounding box detection and make a new prediction for future positions. Over time, the Kalman filter will get better and better through self-learning. 

This also ensures that the visualisation of the bounding boxes is less jittery. The detections/boxes that we show on the UI are not the bounding boxes of the detector but of Kalman filtered boxes, which ensures that the visual bounding boxes show a smooth trajectory in the object tracking. 

Current Status

The project objects have been met very effectively and efficiently. Our team was able to deliver more than proposed and has set the basis for the future development. With the continued support of ESA, towards a demonstrator phase, Westray is confident that they will profoundly change the maritime industry’s safety and efficiency, and with this also transform this key segment of the global supply chain. Westray will submit its proposal for a demonstrator call in 2021.

Prime Contractor(s)


Status Date

Updated: 18 November 2020