Marine Blender

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Virginia Tech

A model of a realistic marine environment is needed for training a rugged, onboard optical sensor designed by Cell Matrix Corporation, a VTCRC COgro member (i.e., a small company in Virginia Tech's Corporate Research Center), a project led by Dr. Peter Athanas, an ECE professor at Virginia Tech. This will be accomplished within Blender, a free and open 3D modeling and rendering tool. The chosen environment is the intercoastal waters of the Palm Beach Inlet in Florida, between the Port of Palm Beach and the Inlet, approaching the Inlet from the south side of Peanut Island. This active inlet and port area gives the scene of the Blender model. To build an accurate representation of the specified area we will construct a terrain model for the Palm Beach Inlet water area from the Port of Palm Beach to the Inlet, including where the Intercoastal Waterway channel meets the Inlet channel, south of Peanut Island. This covers the surrounding islands and land masses, bridges, and large structures. There will also be roughly five types of boats to model (i.e., yachts, sailboats, mega-yachts, cargo ships, fishing boats, and other boats commonly found in the area), to represent different situations. Different looking classes of boats are needed to train the marine sensor to recognize them, so we choose different classes and create or find-and-customize a model for a boat from each class. The team will be provided with the trajectories of individual boats traveling this area from AIS ship tracking data published by the US Coast Guard. To simulate these realistic situations we have written a Blender script that allows boats to transit along these AIS tracks. The renders we created from our blender project are representations of the Palm Beach Inlet water area, and will hopefully serve as a useful resource for AI model training.

Blender, Animation, Marine Environment, Model, Palm Beach Inlet