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MAS main approach in monitoring maritime infrastructures is to avoid false positives and increase detection capability, therefore a integrated security system must include sensors both in air and in water, properly fused together.
This implies, from a technological point of view, to gain the capability to connect all sensors to a web (network) and to extend this network to the sea side, via an underwater web.
Active sensors (in air: radars; in water: sonars) are largely used and represent the basis of any security monitoring system.
On the contrary passive sensors (in air, Acoustic devices and in water, Acoustic sensors/Electromagnetic field sensors) are poorly developed, utilize different interface protocols (proprietary) and usually can not be integrated into a network.

Technological innovation introduced in this project, given the crucial role of the passive part of a integrated security system, is to make it possible to interface passive sensors within standard security systems.

Main features allowed by passive detection

  • Effective detection function
  • No potentially dangerous emissions of energy in the environment
  • Covert detection (target can not realize to be monitored)
  • Advantageous costs-benefits ratio

Among the passive sensors to be used in an integrated security systems some are already widely used – video and thermal cameras - while that is not the case for acoustic sensors and electromagnetic field sensors, both in air and in water.
MAS team, in this project, designed and manufactured in prototype version a new multi-sensor A/D (Analog to Digital) Acquisition Module devoted to allow the integration of above passive sensors within security systems.

The proper acquisition, integration and correlation of data coming from passive detection sensors may allow the following features of a security systems, usually possible only by using active sensors:

  • Detection of the threat (without emitting any energy, sound or pulse)
  • Classification of the threat origin: from land, air, underwater
  • Localization and tracking of the threat

Typical targets of the passive detection are:

  • Noisy vehicles (air, sea surface, underwater)
  • Vehicles interfering with background electrical and magnetic fields (sea surface, underwater)
  • Divers in specific conditions

Advantages of using passive technology for civilian applications: no acoustic or electromagnetic pollution, protection of human and marine life health, respect of laws on privacy, dual use (can be used also for noise monitoring).



The tool specifically developed in MAS Project is a new Digital Acquisition System, featuring

  • Number of input channels per unit
  • Frequency band
0,1 Hz to 65 kHz
  • A/D converter
ΣΔ 24 bit, dynamic range: 120 dB
  • Sampling
  • Number of serial inputs
  • Output Protocol



32 channels acquisition module




Passive sensors useable are

  • Microphones
  • Hydrophones
  • Magnetic field sensors
  • Electrical field sensors


Main features of the new Digital Acquisition System:

  • Real time underwater detection
  • Allows to integrate analog and serial passive sensors (up to 32 sensors with analog output and up to 5 sensors with digital serial output),
  • Allows to transmit data via underwater Web (thanks to the Ethernet output) and/or recording them on a local Hard Disk and to transmit data to Ethernet radio devices
  • Low power consumption
  • Small dimensions


With the support of the "Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security-related Risks Programme", European Commission - Directorate-General Home Affairs