The US Navy is kicking off a new project that will attempt to fight maritime piracy with the help of web applications. The Department of Defense-funded project is being operated by the Office of Naval Research, and will be researching and building apps aimed at not only fighting pirates, but also other maritime scourges like drug smugglers, weapon traffickers, and illegal fishers. Researchers at the Technical University of Federico Santa Maria in Chile will be working in collaboration with teams in Africa to create software designed with features like small-target detection and intent detection, so that sailors can have access to and analyze data about potential threats.

Once the apps are built, the trick will then be to make them compatible with naval systems from all over the world, so that information can be shared globally. "We'll take those tools and integrate them into a widget framework that can be part of a coalition-accessible web portal," said John Stastny, an engineer from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego.