On the open ocean, identifying vessels can be challenging. Governments and maritime insurers use the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to identify ships, but bad actors can easily “go dark.” If a ship has deactivated its AIS beacons, there’s a chance it could be involved in smuggling, piracy, illegal fishing or human trafficking.
Hawkeye 360 is a data analytics company that aims to address this challenge using space-based radio frequency (RF) mapping. The six year-old company, headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, operates a constellation of commercial satellites to detect, characterize and geolocate a broad range of RF signals. It uses RF signals from sea to identify the characteristics and behavior of vessels. For instance, it evaluates vessels’ historical data and known interactions.