Former ISRO Scientist Launches Ocean Surveillance Startup Using Satellite Tech

By Sunil Sonkar
2 Min Read
Former ISRO Scientist Launches Ocean Surveillance Startup Using Satellite Tech

In March 2021, a ship got stuck in the Suez Canal and caused a huge $10 billion daily loss to the world’s economy. This event, along with problems like smuggling and piracy, highlighted the need for a better ocean monitoring. Gaurav Seth, a former ISRO scientist, used his expertise in radar technology to start a new company that will help keep an eye on our oceans and prevent such incidents.

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Gaurav Seth and co-founder Vinit Bansal introduced earlier this year a space tech startup Piersight to focus on real-time ocean surveillance by using SAR-based satellite imagery. Satellites, moving at 8 kilometers per second, offer promising capabilities, but the challenge lies in connecting satellite tech with traditional methods like ships and ground stations for effective monitoring.

The vision of Piersight is to create a control room with a real-time satellite imagery-based dashboard for prompt response to anomalies. The Ahmedabad-based startup has secured $600,000 in pre-seed funding and is actively seeking additional seed funding. They plan to test their systems within the year by launching aboard ISRO’s PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM).

Piersight relies on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a remote sensing technology capable of penetrating clouds and operating effectively day or night in various weather conditions. Their goal is to create compact, all-weather SAR satellites for continuous ocean surveillance, as explained by Vinit Bansal, the startup’s Chief Technology Officer.

Piersight’s core focus is real-time ocean surveillance, addressing the current limitation in SAR-based satellite systems. They aim to quickly detect events like oil spills by continuously monitoring global waters. Their satellites will also use the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to identify and distinguish legal from illegal ships, even when AIS transponders are turned off for illicit activities. This strengthens the enforcement efforts.

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