Determining a whale’s presence with state of the art technology

Day & night - 24 hours/ 7 days a week

Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and Stiftung Alfred-Wegener-Institut joined forces to develop AIMMMS, the sophisticated and reliable Automatic Infrared-based Marine Mammal Mitigation System.

This system is committed to help minimising the impact of hydroacoustic offshore operations on the marine environment and whales in particular.

During the last decades, anthropogenic marine noise increased significantly with the potential for acute or chronic negative effects on the marine fauna. Most marine mammals and many fish species depend on underwater sound for communication, foraging and navigation.

Therefore concerns on potentially adverse effects of anthropogenic noise on marine life have been raised from within the scientific community since the 1970s.

Shut-down of loud under-water noise emitting systems - such as airguns - in the presence of whales is now a standard mitigation procedure requested by many regulating agencies. In addition, permits to start-up airguns are frequently linked to a preceding "whale-free" period.

Determination of whale presence is thereby mostly based on visual sightings of the whale’s blow by dedicated observers. This method is restricted to daylight hours, prohibiting airgun start-up during night-time. To avoid observer fatigue, it furthermore requires large (and hence costly) observer teams when conducted during months-long cruises.

AIMMMS is an electro-optical surveillance, covering the complete 360° panoramic view, which offers in an outstanding way the simultaneous automatic detection and display of multiple events like whale blows within a complete real-time infrared video image.
AIMMMS – Automatic Infrared Marine Mammal Mitigation System
  • Automatic detection of whale blows within more than 2 nautical miles distance from detector
  • Display of instantaneous location of events coupled with prediction of potential encounter
  • Immediate, recurring event video snippets for verification by independent human observer; therefore significant relief of workload for marine mammal observer (MMO)
  • Automatic logging and documentation of events for retrospective inspection by regulator and operator
Technical Details
  • Day and night operation for months in a row
  • Field of View 360° horizontally (panoramic view) and 18° vertically
  • Gyro stabilized platform against roll and pitch (12° each)
  • Continuous (24/7) autonomous operation with 5Hz (5 frames per second) full frame scan rate
  • Real-time track and visualisation of events


AIMMMS hardware and software have been extensively tested in cold waters (<10ºC) and optimized throughout the last two years during several cruises to both the Arctic and Antarctic by the German Alfred Wegener Institute.

However, tests in waters warmer than 10°C/50°F and on seals or dolphins are yet pending. If your project fits into this latter categories, it necessarily would be more of an exploratory nature at this time.

AIMMMS received great interest both throughout the SEG-Conference 2011 in San Antonio Texas and in its aftermath by the following stakeholders:

  • Oil and Gas Producers
  • Geophysical Contractors
  • Independent Consultants
  • Marine Mammal Observer
  • Competent Authorities / Regulating Agencies
  • Scientific Research Institutes


Flexible acquisition options as purchasing or renting provide an added value to the customers.


Business Unit Integrated Electronic Systems

Brüggeweg 54

28309 Bremen



Phone: +49 421 1080-0

Fax: +49 421 1080-2900

Am Handelshafen 12



Rheinmetall Platz 1

40476 Dusseldorf


Phone: +49 211 473-01

Fax: +49 211 473-4727

© 2024 Rheinmetall AG